Health

Early childhood vaccination rates up in Iowa, study says

Iowa above national average, with low parental refusal rate

(Dreamstime)
(Dreamstime)

A new nationwide study shows that early childhood vaccination rates in Iowa stand above the national average, which researchers say has been on the rise in recent years.

In 2016, 74.6 percent of Iowa children were up to date on their federally recommended vaccinations. That’s compared to 73.5 percent nationwide, according to a study released Monday by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

The study looked at completion of the seven Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended vaccines for children from 2010 to 2016.

The researchers also looked at the rate of vaccinations by birth year, and found that 77 percent of commercially insured children born in 2013 completed their vaccine series by 2016. This is up from 69 percent of children born in 2010 who received their vaccines by 2013.

The study also found that 78.7 percent of Iowa’s children born in 2013 were fully vaccinated by the time they were two and a half years old — an 11.5 percent increase from those born in 2010.

Parental or guardian refusals and a failure to attend routine well-child visits affected the outcome of nationwide vaccination rates, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association study found.

In fact, the percentage of infants with at least one parental vaccination refusal nationwide increased from 2.5 percent to 4.2 percent between 2010 and 2013.

The 2016 refusal rate stood at 1.1 percent across Iowa.

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On the other hand, researchers also found failure to attend routine well-child visits as “the predominant reason identified in the data for under-vaccination among commercially insured children.”

The study said missed visits accounted for 62 percent of under-vaccinations in 2016.

Overall, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association study stated, there still is room to increase those rates.

“This study suggests continued awareness, education and compliance with the recommended well-child visits could improve vaccination rates,” the study said. “Administration of the seven-vaccine series will sustain improvements in vaccination rates of children in America.”

CDC Recommmendations

The federal Centers for Disease and Control recommends a series of seven vaccines for children up to the age of three. They are:

• Diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTaP)

• Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

• Hepatitis B

• Inactivated poliovirus (IPV)

• Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)

• Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV)

• Varicella

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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