Results released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show, as a region, New England’s H1N1 vaccination coverage rates were consistently the highest in the nation. In fact, the New England region’s vaccination rates were the highest in the country in six of seven target populations surveyed.
Rhode Island led the nation in vaccination coverage rates for children ages six months through 17 years of age (84.7%) and adults age 25 to 64 with chronic health conditions (57.5%). Overall, Rhode Island is estimated to have the highest H1N1 vaccination coverage rate in the country for anyone age 6 months and older at 38.8% versus the national median of 23.9%.
The most notable success is in the coverage rates of children ages six months through 17 years. New England’s coverage rate of 56.5% was the highest in the country with the median national H1N1 vaccination coverage rate of 36.8%. New England also reached significantly more individuals ages 25-64 who have health conditions who put them at higher risk for developing complications from H1N1 influenza – 46.5% - versus the national median of 33.2%.
“These numbers show that we were reaching the people who most needed to be protected,” said Director of Health David R. Gifford, MD, MPH. “Since the beginning of the pandemic in April 2009, the New England Health Officers spoke on a regular basis to share information and to discuss policies and strategies. It was this continued collaboration that was key to a successful H1N1 response.”
“We are very grateful for the thousands of Rhode Islanders who worked hard to make sure that as many people as possible were offered vaccine,” said Gifford. “Our successes in the H1N1 response serve as a best practice for the country.”
The data are from a national telephone survey conducted by CDC through the months of December, January, and February.
While we seen very few cases of H1N1 in Rhode Island since the beginning of the year, H1N1 virus is still circulating in the country, especially in Southeastern United States. Anyone who has not been vaccinated, especially those likely to travel outside of the state, should contact their healthcare provider.