(HealthDay News) – Middle school entry vaccination requirements may increase coverage for adolescent vaccines, but education-only requirements do not appear to have an impact, according to a study published online May 7 in Pediatrics.

Erin Bugenske, MPH, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues reviewed school entry requirements for receipt of vaccination for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The 2008–2009 National Immunization Survey-Teen was used to assess vaccination coverage levels for adolescents (13–17 years of age) by state requirement status and change in coverage from 2008–2009.

The researchers found that, during the 2008–2009 academic year, 32 states had requirements for tetanus/diphtheria (Td)/ tetanus/diphtheria/ acellular pertussis (TdaP) (14 specifically requiring TdaP) and none required education; three states required meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) vaccine and 10 others required education; and one state required human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and five required education. There was significantly higher coverage for MenACWY (71% vs. 53%) and Td/TdaP (80% vs. 70%) vaccines in states with vaccination requirements compared to states with no requirements. There was no association between education-only requirements and MenACWY and HPV vaccine coverage levels.

“Middle school vaccination requirements are associated with higher coverage for Td/TdaP and MenACWY vaccines, whereas education-only requirements do not appear to increase coverage levels for MenACWY or HPV vaccines,” the authors write. “The impact on coverage should continue to be monitored as more states adopt requirements.”

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