The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lauded Rhode Island for having immunization rates that are among the highest in the country for several vaccines in different age groups at a national awards ceremony today.
"Immunizations are investments in the health of our communities and the health of our economy," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "The economic impacts of vaccine-preventable diseases, including direct medical expenditures and lost productivity, are significant. I am proud that we are being recognized nationally for immunization work that is cutting healthcare costs and keeping Rhode Islanders safe."
"Vaccines are extremely effective in protecting people from the serious health consequences of many illnesses and in lowering the overall cost of healthcare in our state," said Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH). "Expanding access to quality health services, such as vaccines, is central to our work to eliminate health disparities, promote health equity, build healthier communities, and build a more vibrant economy."
RIDOH received three individual 2015 Vaccination Coverage Awards at the ceremony. The awards were: • Highest Influenza Vaccination Coverage Rate in Adults 18 Years of Age and Older (53.7% in Rhode Island, versus 43.6% nationally); • Highest Pneumococcal Vaccination Coverage Rate in Adults 65 Years of Age and Older (75.2% in Rhode Island versus 54.5% nationally); and • Most Improved Influenza Vaccination Coverage in Adults 18 Years of Age and Older (from 52.5% in 2013 to 53.7% in 2014). Additionally, Rhode Island's rate for boys 13 to 17 years of age who received at least one dose of HPV vaccine (69%) was the highest in the country, and the rate for Rhode Island girls in that age bracket (76%) was third in the nation.
The national awards ceremony occurred on the heels of the release of the newest America's Health Rankings report, which ranks Rhode Island as the 14th healthiest state in the nation and number one in the country for teen immunization.
Factors in Rhode Island's immunization success include the dedication of Rhode Island's healthcare provider community; the use of KIDSNET, a statewide health information system, which helps track children's vaccinations starting at birth; and Rhode Island's Universal Vaccine Policy. This Universal Vaccine Policy allows healthcare providers to order all vaccines for children from birth through 18 years of age, and most recommended vaccines for adults, at no cost.
The protection that people receive when high immunization rates are achieved substantially reduces the incidence of disease in communities, as well as substantially reducing disease-associated healthcare expenses.
The data were gathered from the 2014 National Immunization Survey, an annual study conducted through random telephone calls to parents and guardians and follow-up with healthcare providers.
Complete immunization data are available online.