Feature

Massachusetts tops state vaccination rankings


 

Vaccination policy in the United States is set largely at the state level, and no state does a better job at vaccinating than Massachusetts, according to a new analysis from personal finance website WalletHub.

The Bay State’s top finish in the “children and teenagers immunization rates” category moved it ahead of Vermont in the overall rankings, which had the highest score in each of the other two broad categories – “adult and elderly vaccination rates” and “immunization uptake disparities and influencing factors” – but only finished 15th in child/teen immunization, Wallethub reported.

The state that ranked 51st in child/teen immunization – Mississippi – also finished 51st overall, behind every other state and Washington, D.C. The rest of the bottom five consisted of Texas (50th); Florida (49th), which ranked last in the adult/elderly category; Georgia (48th); and Indiana (47th). New Mexico, however, managed to show that last is not always least by earning a mid-pack overall rank of 30 despite its last-place showing in the disparities/influencing factors category, the WalletHub analysis showed.

Scores for the three broad categories were determined using 18 relevant metrics, including influenza vaccination rate in children aged 6 months to 17 years (1st, Rhode Island; 51st, Wyoming), share of adults aged 60 years and older with zoster vaccination (1st, Vermont; 51st, Mississippi), and share of population without health insurance coverage (1st, Massachusetts; 51st, Texas), WalletHub said.

“Each state should tailor its vaccines policy to its need, with an understanding that those needs may change,” Dorit Rubinstein Reiss of the University of California Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, told WalletHub. When parents refuse to have their children vaccinated, it’s important to remember that “the state is not denying these children schooling. It is requiring that they be protected from disease first.”

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