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Adolescent vaccination rates rise in Minnesota

Minnesota’s adolescent immunization rates increased in 2014, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Minnesota’s rates are at or above national averages, and the state increase mirrors an overall improvement in rates across the country.

Health officials recommend that adolescents receive three vaccines: tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap); meningococcal; and human papillomavirus (HPV).

According to CDC, Minnesota exceeded the Healthy People 2020 target of 80 percent for Tdap in 2014 with a rate of 87 percent among teens age 13-17. The data also showed that about 75 percent of adolescents had at least one dose of meningococcal vaccine.

Immunization rates for HPV vaccine remained fairly steady, with about 60 percent of females having one dose. There was a significant increase in one dose of HPV vaccine for males (34 percent in 2013 to 42 percent in 2014).

Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans.

The CDC data come from its National Immunization Survey (NIS), a telephone survey that includes a relatively small sample size for each state.

The Minnesota Vaccines for Children program offers free or low cost shots to children 18 or younger who do not have medical insurance, are enrolled in Medicaid, are Native American or Alaska Native, or whose insurance doesn’t cover the cost of the vaccine. Ask your clinic if you are interested in the program.

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As the new school year approaches, here are some tips for parents:

• Check your child’s immunization history. For copies of immunization records, talk to your clinic or call 1-800-657-3970.

• Get information on the vaccines recommended for teens and preteens at Vaccines for Teens (

• Use office visits for sports physicals and minor injuries or illnesses to make sure adolescents are up to date on their vaccines.