Childhood Immunizations

While overall vaccination rates are strong nationwide, 23 percent of children are still not getting the CDC-recommended seven-vaccine series within the first three years of life. For children who are not completely vaccinated, missed well-child visits were the largest reason for under-vaccination.


Childhood vaccination is one of the most significant public health accomplishments of the 20th century. We have all but eradicated many devastating diseases, and health conditions with vaccinations. Preventing an untold amount of illness, disease, and death. It’s very important for the healthy development of every child that they be vaccinated.

A study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association examined U.S. claims data for 843,610 children, born from 2010-2013, and commercially insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. This study followed their care continuously from birth to 3 years of age, focusing on completion rates of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended seven-vaccine series for children. The study found that nationwide 73.5 percent of children were up-to-date, while only 64.2 percent in New York state were up-to-date on their CDC-recommended vaccinations during the seven-year span. However, in Syracuse the total childhood vaccination rate was 84.4 percent, a rate which is statistically among the top twenty metropolitan areas examined in the study.

The report, “Early Childhood Vaccination Trends in America,” represents a comprehensive study of outpatient medical claims from BCBS members who were vaccinated by 2 years and 3 months of age between 2010 and 2016.* The report found that early childhood vaccination rates increase steadily over time. However, wide variation in vaccination rates exists throughout the country at both the state, and local levels.

While overall vaccination rates are strong nationwide, 23 percent of children are still not getting the CDC-recommended seven-vaccine series within the first three years of life. For children who are not completely vaccinated, missed well-child visits** were the largest reason for under-vaccination. Highlighting how important well-child visits are to improving vaccination rates and children’s health.

Physicians in our community are doing a great job with well-child visits - the fact that the Utica/Rome region has one of the lowest uninsured rates in modern times also helps explain why we have among the best records on vaccinations in the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the 2016 uninsured rate in Central New York was 3.96 percent; lower than the uninsured rate in the state (6.06 percent) and in the nation (8.58 percent).

Parents should follow recommendations from the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the rest of the medical community, all of which agree that vaccines are safe and effective. The CDC estimates that for each U.S. birth cohort that received the recommended childhood immunizations, about 20 million illnesses, and more than 40,000 deaths are prevented.

Vaccination rates continue to improve among commercially insured children in the U.S., according to the study.

For more information on this study from The Health of America Report series, visit “Childhood Vaccination Trends in America”.

* Study includes continuously insured members from birth.

** American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends 10 visits to the pediatrician by age two.

 

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to about 1.5 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools. To learn more, visit ExcellusBCBS.com.