In a study that compared vaccination coverage of 4 childhood vaccines in New York State (NYS) and New Zealand (NZ), children from NZ were more likely to receive each of the vaccines. Researchers used vaccination records from the NYS Immunization Information System and the National Immunisation Register of NZ to measure: vaccination coverage by school entry and by age 6 years; coverage of different socio-economic groups; and trends in vaccination coverage between 2011 and 2015. They found:
- Records of 583,767 NYS children and 269,800 NZ children aged 7 years were analyzed.
- NZ children were 3.3-21.5% more likely than NYS children to receive each of the vaccines.
- Compared the NYS, NZ children were nearly 40% more likely to be up-to-date by the start of school and 28% more likely to be up-to-date by age 6 years.
- Both NYS and NZ had statistically significant increases in the proportion of children who were up-to-date on each vaccine and all vaccines by the start of school and by age 6 years.
Baumann KE, Paynter J, Petousis-Harris H, Prymula R, Yang YT, Shaw J. Comparison of vaccination coverage of four childhood vaccines in New Zealand and New York State. [Published online ahead of print November 13, 2018]. J Paediatr Child Health. doi:10.1111/jpc.14289.
In the US, there are only 3 states—Mississippi, West Virginia, and California— that do not allow any type of personal exemption for families to not vaccinate their children. New Zealand does not make childhood immunization compulsory but, does encourage it. It is not clear how to get the rates higher in the US without making vaccines mandatory. The discussions about not vaccinating children are often made very passionately. The voices encouraging vaccination need to be just as loud, with the same amount of fervor. —John Russell, MD