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September 26, 1977

Medical News

JAMA. 1977;238(13):1335-1344. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280140013001

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'Shocking' numbers of children lack adequate immunization  There are approximately 52 million children in the United States 14 years old or younger. About 20 million of them have not been adequately immunized against preventable childhood diseases. The Secretary of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (DHEW), Joseph A. Califano, Jr, calls these levels of immunization "intolerable" and has promulgated a new initiative to raise them.Briefly, the program replaces the familiar Immunization Action Month that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has coordinated each October for the past several years. Instead, Mr Califano says, the new effort has two primary goals: "First, by the fall of 1979, we seek to [raise] immunization levels for our young above 90%."Second, we seek to establish a permanent system to provide comprehensive immunization services to the 3 million children born in America each year. Our national failure to protect our