Immunization Rates for Young Children Vary Across the States in 2018

Posted September 4, 2020
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
A map that shows eight states with childhood immunization rates below 70%.

Although some states showed declines in the most recent year for which data are avail­able, a gen­er­al trend of high­er immu­niza­tion rates for 2‑year-olds pre­vails in the Unit­ed States.

Accord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Prevention’s Nation­al Immu­niza­tion Sur­vey, in 2018, three-quar­ters of 2‑year-olds were immu­nized in Amer­i­ca. The 2018 immu­niza­tion rate (read more about how immu­niza­tion is defined) climbed from 48.3% in 2009 (dur­ing a peri­od of vac­cine short­ages) to 71% in 2011 to 75.1% in 2015. The lat­est nation­al fig­ure is near­ly on par with that record lev­el of immunization.

Immu­niza­tion rates var­ied wide­ly across the states, from a high of 85.4% in Con­necti­cut to a low of 63.9% in Mon­tana. There’s no strong geo­graph­ic pat­tern relat­ed to either the 2018 immu­niza­tion rate or year-to-year changes from 2017 to 2018:

  • Alas­ka (69.7%), Indi­ana (66.9%), Min­neso­ta (68.2%), Mis­souri (68.3%), Mon­tana (63.9%), Neva­da (68%), Ore­gon (68.9%) and Wash­ing­ton (66.1%) are the states with 2018 immu­niza­tion rates below 70%; every geo­graph­ic region is rep­re­sent­ed except the Northeast.
  • Sim­i­lar­ly, Alaba­ma (81.8%), Col­orado (81%), Con­necti­cut (85.4%), Ken­tucky (81.3%), Mass­a­chu­setts (82.6%), Nebras­ka (80.7%), New Hamp­shire (82.2%), New Mex­i­co (80.3%), North Dako­ta (82.4%), Penn­syl­va­nia (80.7%) and Wis­con­sin (80.5%) are the states where the immu­niza­tion rate topped 80%, with the North­east, South, Mid­west and West all rep­re­sent­ed by at least two states.
  • Immu­niza­tion rates fell in 19 states: Alas­ka, Delaware, Flori­da, Illi­nois, Indi­ana, Mary­land, Mass­a­chu­setts, Min­neso­ta, Mis­souri, Mon­tana, Neva­da, Ore­gon, South Dako­ta, Ten­nessee, Vir­ginia, Wash­ing­ton, West Vir­ginia and Wyoming.

An impor­tant data caveat: Between Decem­ber 2007 and Sep­tem­ber 2009, there was a short­age of the Hib vac­ci­na­tion, which led to a tem­po­rary sus­pen­sion of the boost­er shot for most chil­dren. This explains a dip in in 2009 and 2010 in some places rel­a­tive to pre­vi­ous years.

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