Vaccination might be considered a hot button topic across the country, but the facts underscore its importance. Immunizations have drastically reduced previously widespread diseases like polio, tetanus, measles, and chicken pox. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) notes that vaccines prevented at least 10 million deaths worldwide between 2010 and 2015. But in the U.S., rates of vaccination vary from state to state.
WalletHub set out to find out where people are most responsible for getting their shots, examining the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Here's what they found.
How the Research Was Done
WalletHub looked at three main areas of data for all 50 states and D.C.: Children & Teenagers Immunization Rates, Adult & Elderly Vaccination Rates, and Immunization Uptake Disparities & Influencing Factors. Within these areas were 18 metrics, like a state's share of children aged 19-35 months with combined 7-Vaccine series or its flu shot rate among kids aged 6 months to 17 years old. They then calculated each state and the District's weighted average across all metrics to land on its final score.
- RELATED: Types of Vaccines
States' Rates of Vaccination, Ranked From Worst to Best
44. New Jersey
43. New York
33. South Carolina
30. New Mexico
23. North Carolina
19. District of Columbia
9. West Virginia
8. South Dakota
5. New Hampshire
4. North Dakota
3. Rhode Island
The data also pinpointed the worst states in more specific categories:
Lowest Flu Shot Rates in Children 6 Months-17 Years Old
Lowest Share of Teens Aged 13-17 With Up-to-Date HPV Vaccination
48. South Carolina
Lowest Share of Children 19-35 Months Old Living in Poverty with Combined 7-Vaccine Series
Tied for 46. New York & New Jersey
The Bottom Line
As the report points out, the World Health Organization cites vaccine resistance as one of the top 10 threats to global health. That said, WalletHub's findings prove that there's much room for improvement when it comes to beating anti-vaccination trends and spreading knowledge about the benefits and science behind vaccines.
As Stephen S. Morse, a professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York, who offered his expert insight to the report, noted, "It’s a modern luxury (and a myth) to think that we can escape these diseases without vaccination. It really depends on those who are vaccinated to protect both themselves and their neighbors. When vaccine coverage reaches a critical low, a community becomes susceptible and we see outbreaks of measles and other infections."