New study finds Utah ranks low for child vaccination rates

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FILE – In this March 16, 2020 file photo, a patient receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. In a press briefing on Thursday May 14, 2020, the European Medicines Agency predicted that there could be licensed drugs to treat the new coronavirus in the next few months and that a vaccine might even be approved in early 2021, in a “best-case scenario.” (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A new study suggests that Utah is among the lowest in the nation when it comes to child vaccination rates with a 47.4 percent rate. A recent decline in flu shots and vaccinations is thought to be caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the month of May, some states saw a 63 percent decrease overall with a 91 percent decrease for children ages two and over. 

Health website QuoteWizard‘s team of analysts looked at the American Academy of Pediatrics data on child flu immunizations and the Kaiser Family Foundation’s state data on the rate of uninsured. The team found a correlation between states with high numbers of uninsured individuals and the rate of vaccinations. 

Courtesy: QuoteWizard

For those with health insurance, it is more likely it covers at least a few immunizations or vaccines.

This is true if you get your health coverage from an employer, an insurance company directly, the federal or state “marketplace,” Medicare or Medicaid. QuoteWizard research found that having health insurance increases vaccination rates.

However, not all health plans cover these shots in the same way or to the same extent. Some cover any vaccination you might need while others only cover a handful.

Also, you don’t have to pay a dime to get immunized with some health plans. With others, you’re responsible for copayments or coinsurance costs.

QuoteWizard first compiled American Academy of Pediatrics data on child influenza vaccination rates and ranked each state. They then gathered the rate of uninsured per state from the Kaiser Family Foundation and found the difference in both rankings. Final rankings are based on states that have lowest child vaccination rates.

Key Findings:

  • Utah’s rate of uninsured residents is 10%. 
  • Wyoming, Florida, and Utah have the lowest rates of vaccinated children and the highest uninsured rates in the country.
  • Rhode Island, Massachusett and Connecticut have the highest rates of vaccinated children and the lowest uninsured rates. 
  • The national average rate of vaccinated children in the United States is 58%.
  • The national average of uninsured Americans is about 10%.

If your health insurance doesn’t cover flu shots or other vaccines:

  • Contact your state health department. It may be able to help you find free or low-cost vaccines.
  • Look for a local federally funded health center, most will provide affordable vaccines.
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Tracy Smith
Curtis Booker, joined the ABC4 family in January of 2019 as a Digital Content Producer. In May of 2019, he transitioned into learning the inner workings of becoming a news producer assisting with various shows. Curtis most recently rejoined the Digital team as a multi-media journalist in February of 2020.

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