On March 28, 2011, the Rhode Island Department of Health’s (HEALTH) Office of Immunization received two awards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the National Immunization Conference in Washington, D.C. The first award was for the highest influenza vaccination coverage rate in the country for children thus far this influenza season. The second award was for outstanding overall adolescent immunization coverage rates.
Through December 2010, Rhode Island immunized 74.9% of children ages 6 months – 17 years against influenza. This was the highest rate in the country for this age range and almost twice the national average of 44.1%. Rhode Island was also one of two states recognized for its outstanding adolescent vaccination coverage rates for 2009.
In 2009, Rhode Island had near-top rankings for tetanus, meningitis, and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine coverage rates. Rhode Island’s tetanus vaccination rate was 91.4% (compared to the national average of 76.2%), the state’s meningitis vaccination rate was 75.7% (compared to the national average of 53.6%), and the state’s HPV vaccination rate was 68.3% (compared to the national average of 44.3%). Rhode Island’s overall adolescent vaccination coverage rate was 78.5%.
“Young adults are being vaccinated against serious diseases before they leave high school thanks to the dedication of Rhode Island’s pediatricians, family physicians, school personnel, and many other unsung heroes,” said Interim Director of Health Michael Fine, M.D. “As proud as I am of these numbers, we still have more work to do. Our goal is to have 90% of adolescents vaccinated against all vaccine-preventable disease.”
In an effort to reach this goal, HEALTH opened its Vaccinate Before You Graduate (VBYG) program to all high school students this year. VBYG, which was previously only open to high school seniors, makes vaccines for nine vaccine-preventable diseases available to students at school-based clinics. Additionally, seasonal flu vaccine was offered to all school-aged children in Rhode Island at school-based vaccination clinics this year for the first time.
Data used to determine vaccination rates was gathered through the CDC’s National Immunization Survey (NIS). The NIS is administered annually by the CDC. To view the entire NIS report, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/stats-surv/imz-coverage.htm
For more information on the HEALTH’s Office of Immunization and its different immunization programs, visit www.health.ri.gov/immunization or contact the HEALTH Information Line at 401-222-5960 RI Relay 711.