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Rhode Island Remains National Leader in Childhood, Adolescent Vaccinations

PROVIDENCE - Childhood and adolescent immunization rates in Rhode Island are among the highest in the country for almost every vaccine children should be receiving, according to newly-released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"Children in Rhode Island are protected against many dangerous diseases, thanks to the dedication of Rhode Island's pediatricians, family physicians, school personnel, and many other unsung heroes," said Michael Fine, MD, director of HEALTH. "As proud as I am of these numbers, there's more work to be done. We must continue to educate parents, grandparents and caregivers about the importance of vaccinations for children of all ages."

The CDC's National Immunization Survey revealed that Rhode Island's immunization rates for children between 19 and 35 months of age were tops in the nation for vaccines that protect against several diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella, and haemophilus influenzae type B. Immunization rates for these vaccines were all greater than 96%. In the same age category, Rhode Island's immunization rate for polio vaccine was 97.4%. This rate was the third-highest in the nation, behind only Nebraska and Louisiana.

Among adolescents, Rhode Island's immunization rate for the vaccine series that protects against chicken pox (varicella), hepatitis B, tetanus, pertussis, diphtheria, measles, mumps, and rubella all surpassed national averages. Seventy-six percent of Rhode Island girls received at least one dose of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine — the highest rate in the country, and well above the national average of 53%. Fifty-seven percent of Rhode Island girls completed the three-dose HPV vaccine series, another top immunization rate in the country, compared to the national average of 34.8%. HPV vaccination rates among males in Rhode Island and the rest of the country are considerably lower, as CDC began recommending routine vaccination against HPV for adolescent males in 2011.

The goals of Healthy People 2020, a CDC initiative that sets national health goals for each decade, include immunization rates of 90% for most childhood and adolescent vaccines.

National Immunization Survey information, last collected in 2011, is gathered through random telephone calls and follow-up with healthcare providers of respondents' children. The survey has been conducted annually since 1994 to measure immunization rates of children 19-35 months of age. In 2006, the survey was expanded to include older children.

For the complete National Immunization Survey results, see

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