Where are vaccination rates the highest and the lowest across the United States? Using data supplied by the American Academy of Pediatrics, we examined the immunization rates of children in each state for the required vaccinations. The study looked at the percentage of children that had received the DTaP vaccine, MMR vaccine, varicella vaccine, the combined seven-vaccine series, influenza vaccine, and the HPV vaccine for both females and males. The childhood vaccination schedule is as follows: The first four types of vaccinations listed are to be given to children ages 19 to 35 months; the one for influenza, aka the flu vaccine, is given annually between 6 months and 17 years old; and the HPV vaccine age is between 13 and 17 years old. These immunizations are vital to protecting public health.
Using this data, the True People Search team ranked the states by the percentages of children who have received the required vaccinations. We found each state’s average ranking across all of these vaccine categories to determine how well-vaccinated its juvenile population is compared to the other 49 states. We also mapped out the states that allow non-medical exemptions, which can lead to lower immunization rates. When high percentages of the population have been vaccinated, community immunity can be achieved; without it, these diseases will continue to cause deadly outbreaks.
The state that has the highest childhood vaccination rate is Massachusetts. Massachusetts was found to have the highest percentage of vaccinated children for three of the seven categories in this study and had the second-highest vaccination rates for the other four.
Rhode Island came in a close second to Massachusetts, with the highest percentage of vaccinated children for three of the seven categories. Rhode Island was ranked the highest for the influenza vaccine, at 76.2%, and also came out on top for both the female and male HPV vaccines.
The states in the Northeast dominate the top of the list, making up six of the top ten states with the highest vaccination rates.
The state with the lowest childhood vaccination rates was Utah, which was in the bottom ten for six out of the seven vaccine categories, although it didn’t fare much better with the seventh, for which it ranked 37th in the country.
Utah was one of the few states found to allow both religious exemptions and philosophical exemptions to required vaccines, which may have led to the lower rates of coverage.
While each state has its own set of laws when it comes to exemptions for required vaccines, all children are allowed exemptions for medical reasons. Some states allow non-medical exemptions based on religious objections to the vaccines and/or philosophical exemptions for those who object due to personal, moral, or other beliefs.
Check out the map for a quick look at the states that allow both, neither, or just one of these exemptions. A majority of states allow religious exemptions but not philosophical ones, while 18 states allow for both and only three states don’t allow either type of exemption.
Do you think these types of non-medical exemptions should be allowed when it comes to vaccinating against deadly diseases?