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December 13, 1995

Childhood Immunization RegistriesA National Review of Public Health Information Systems and the Protection of Privacy

Author Affiliations

From the Georgetown/Johns Hopkins University Program on Law and Public Health, Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Md (Mr Gostin), and Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass (Ms Lazzarini).

JAMA. 1995;274(22):1793-1799. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530220059034

COMMON childhood illnesses, such as measles, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and polio, once accounted for a substantial proportion of infant and child morbidity and mortality in the United States.1 Complete and timely early immunization can now effectively prevent these and other childhood diseases.2-4 Despite the potential to protect the health of society's most vulnerable population, approximately one third of the 4 million infants born annually in the United States do not receive all of their recommended immunizations by age 2 years.5

The rate of complete immunization of school-aged children in the United States (>95%) is as high, or higher, than most other developed countries.6,7 Yet the rate of full immunization of preschoolers (<65%)8 is less than that of many developed (and even some developing) countries.9 While the most recent provisional data show significant improvement in specific immunizations, levels for all immunizations remain well below the

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