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article imageU.S. states with the highest and lowest vaccination rates

By Tim Sandle     Oct 5, 2019 in Health
Vaccines being essential for preventing disease outbreaks, but this important part of preventative medicine has been hampered by misinformation over the past decade. A new survey from WalletHub reveals the variations across U.S. states.
To assess which U.S. states vaccinate most and the least, the finance site WalletHub analyzed the 50 states and the District of Columbia, using 18 metrics. The metrics used ran from share of vaccinated children through to share of people without health insurance, as well as factors like the rate of measles outbreaks.
This analysis shows the states that have the best vaccination rates to be:
1. Massachusetts
2. Vermont
3. Rhode Island
4. North Dakota
5. New Hampshire
6. Nebraska
7. Delaware
8. South Dakota
9. West Virginia
10. Washington
In contrast, the states which vaccinate the least (and which thereby carry the greatest health threats) are:
42. Wyoming
43. New York
44. New Jersey
45. Nevada
46. Arizona
47. Indiana
48. Georgia
49. Florida
50. Texas
51. Mississippi
According to the World Health Organization vaccine resistance is one of the top 10 threats to global health. The United Nations agency sees vaccine hesitancy, defined as "the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines"m as seriously threatening to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases.
The following video shows some of the metrics used for the analysis:
Within the lists of states there are some interesting variations. For example, Rhode Island is the state with the highest influenza vaccination coverage for children, at 76 percent. This stands as 1.8 times higher compared with Wyoming, the state with the lowest at 43 percent.
Looking at a specific vaccine, Minnesota has the highest proportion of adults with tetanus vaccination at 75 percent. This is almost twice as high as Mississippi, which is the state with the lowest rates at 48 percent. With a different vaccine, Vermont has the highest share of adults aged 60 years and older with zoster vaccination (the 'shingles vaccine') at 52 percent, which is two times higher than in Mississippi (26 percent).
There are multiple reasons why vaccination rates are low. One report classifies these as the so-called “Three Cs.” The first is “confidence”, which is about an individual’s trust in vaccine effectiveness and safety. The second 'C' is “complacency”, which refers to an individual’s low perceived risks of contracting an infectious disease. The third factor stands for “convenience”, which relates to the time, energy, indirect or direct costs required to attend an immunization service.
Commenting on the data, Dr. Abram L. Wagner (University of Michigan) considers ways to increase vaccine coverage: "Making vaccinations the convenient and easy thing to do is so important and has been one way to increase vaccination uptake among families where parents have some doubts about vaccines."
Dr. Wagner adds: "Bringing vaccines into schools so that parents can access vaccines for their children at school would be highly convenient."
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