Objectives: We compared (1) characteristics of adolescents who are and are not entitled to receive free vaccines from the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program and (2) vaccination coverage with meningococcal conjugate (MCV4), quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV4), and tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccines among VFC-eligible and non-VFC-eligible adolescents.
Methods: We analyzed data from the 2009 National Immunization Survey-Teen, a nationally representative, random-digit-dialed survey of households with adolescents aged 13-17 years (n = 20,066). Differences in sociodemographic characteristics and provider-reported vaccination coverage were evaluated using t-tests.
Results: Overall, 32.1% (+/- 1.2%) of adolescents were VFC-eligible. VFC-eligible adolescents were significantly less likely than non-VFC-eligible adolescents to be white and to live in suburban areas, and more likely to live in poverty and to have younger and less educated mothers. Nationally, coverage among non-VFC-eligible adolescents was 57.1% (+/-1.5%) for > or = 1 dose of Tdap, 55.4% (+/-1.5%) for > or = 1 dose of MCV4, and 43.2% (+/- 2.2%) for > or = 1 dose of HPV4. Coverage among VFC-eligible adolescents was 52.5% (+/- 2.4%) for > or = 1 dose of Tdap, 50.1% (+/- 2.4%) for > or = 1 dose of MCV4, and 46.6% (+/- 3.5%) for > or =1 dose of HPV4. Only 27.5% (+/- 1.8%) of non-VFC-eligible adolescents and 25.0% (+/- 2.9%) of VFC-eligible adolescents received > or = 3 doses of HPV4. Vaccination coverage was significantly higher among non-VFC-eligible adolescents for Tdap and MCV4, but not for one-dose or three-dose HPV4. Conclusions. Coverage with some recommended vaccines is lower among VFC-eligible adolescents compared with non-VFC-eligible adolescents. Continued monitoring of adolescent vaccination rates, particularly among VFC-eligible populations, is needed to ensure that all adolescents receive all routinely recommended vaccines.