Vaccinations, which are proven to reduce the prevalence of some severe diseases, have varying rates of use around the U.S.
While vaccinations rates prevented at least 10 million deaths worldwide from 2010 to 2015, according to the World Health Organization, there is a growing faction of U.S. residents who aren’t vaccinating their children. And some states are better than others when it comes to vaccinating.
WalletHub ranked states by vaccination rate, evaluating the immunization rates of children and teenagers, vaccination rates of adults and the elderly and immunization uptake disparities and other influencing factors.
Here are the states with the highest rates of vaccination:
- Rhode Island
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
States with the lowest vaccination rates include:
- New York
- New Jersey
Vaccines have had a dramatic impact on the prevalence of polio, tetanus, measles and chicken pox, while smallpox has been eliminated entirely. Due to lower vaccination rates in certain geographies in the U.S. over the last few years, some diseases have seen new outbreaks. In particular the number of measles cases from the beginning of 2019 to Sept. 26, 2019 jumped to 1,243 in 31 states, according to the CDC. That’s the greatest number of cases in the nation since 1992.
With these new outbreaks, some states are considering stricter vaccination requirements for residents and school children. There are several methods for improving vaccination rates, according to Dorit Rubenstein Reiss, a professor of law at the University of California Hastings College of Law.
“States can also set vaccine requirements for certain professions that work with vulnerable populations - for example, hospitals, nursing homes, and child care workers, and potentially restaurant workers for hepatitis A,” she told Wallet Hub. “Other options include imposing financial consequences for non-vaccinating––for example, by creating laws that allow billing originators of outbreaks for the costs to public health, or laws that create a cause of action in torts.”
Limiting exemptions for vaccinations for children to attend school could also curb the rising anti-vaccination trend.
“There are medical reasons why some children cannot receive vaccines (including a weakened immune system), but these are incredibly rare and should not be used as an excuse by parents who simply do not want their children vaccinated,” added Brandon Brown, MPH, PhD, associate professor at the Center for Healthy Communities, Department of Social Medicine, Population and Public Health, University of California, Riverside School of Medicine. “Mandatory vaccination at school entry is a strong protective factor against vaccine preventable diseases.”
See the full list here.