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Researchers find out why parents don't get teens vaccinated

Vaccination rates aren't increasing as quickly as medical experts would like, and a new study from the University of Oklahoma looks at why.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: March 20, 2013

“We really won't see that for another 10 or 15 or 20 years,” Darden said. “It's so cool to think about a vaccine against cancer.”

Shots required by law

In Oklahoma, students are required to have immunizations, said Dorothy Cox, interim director of immunization services at the state Health Department.

Before entering kindergarten, children must have five rounds of diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccine; four rounds for polio; two rounds for measles, mumps and rubella; three rounds for hepatitis B; two rounds for hepatitis A and one for varicella, or chickenpox. A Tdap booster is required for seventh graders.

A child can be given a first round of vaccinations at 2 months of age, Cox said.

The HPV vaccine is not required by state law for school entry.

The state law requiring vaccinations helps boost vaccination rates, Cox said.

Only about 2 percent of children in Oklahoma have vaccination exemptions based on religious, personal or medical reasons, she said.

Parents did not cite cost as a reason not to vaccinate their children, according to the OU research.

If a child is insured, required vaccines should be covered, Cox said.

For children who are uninsured or have insurance that doesn't cover vaccinations, there are several locations in Oklahoma that support the Vaccines for Children program, which supplies vaccines for children who are uninsured, underinsured, American Indian or Alaskan Native.

A child covered under Oklahoma's Medicaid program are eligible to get a vaccine at no cost, Cox said.

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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Vaccines are among the most effective things we do as doctors.”

Dr. Paul Darden,


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