Connecticut is ranked #6 in the nation in the percentage of children, between 19 months and 35 months old, who have been inoculated with the seven vaccines recommended by the nation’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The data, compiled by Bloomberg.com, indicates that 74.5 percent of Connecticut children have all seven vaccines. The states with the highest overall percentage are Mississippi (76.0%), New Hampshire (75.8%), Kentucky (75.1%), Georgia (75.0%), and Tennessee (74.6%). Rounding out the top ten behind Connecticut are North Dakota (74.3%), Wisconsin (73.3%), Virginia (72.8%) and Nebraska (72.5%).
The specific vaccinations, and the percentage of Connecticut children who have been inoculated, are: DTaP for Diptheria, Tetnus, and Pertussus, also known as Whooping Cough (90.4%), polio (96.4%), MMR for measles, mumps, and rubella, (95.3%), Hib for influenza type B (86.5%), PCV (95.2%) and hepatitis B (93.1%).
The CDC points out that vaccines contain the same germs that cause disease. (For example, measles vaccine contains measles virus, and Hib vaccine contains Hib bacteria.) But they have been either killed or weakened to the point that they don’t make individuals sick, according to the CDC. Some vaccines contain only a part of the disease germ.
A vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if an individual were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, individuals develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first. This is what makes vaccines such powerful medicine, the agency stresses -- unlike most medicines, which treat or cure diseases, vaccines prevent them.
Connecticut is #1 in the nation in the percentage of children, 95.2 percent, having been vaccinated for chickenpox, and also had the highest percentage of children taking the PCV vaccine which targets the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia. The state also ranked #2 in the percentage of young children vaccinated with the MMR, #3 in DTap and Hib, #5 in the polio vaccine, and #9 in the percentage of hepatitis B vaccines administered.
The data utilized in the state-by-state rankings, which was published this month, are for the period July 2011 through June 2012, the latest available according to Bloomberg.com. The CDC produces a vaccination schedule guide with age-specific vaccination information. The rankings were compiled just ahead of Children's Health Month, which is observed throughout October led by the U.S. Office of Children's Health Protection and the Environment.a Protection Agency.
Among other states in the region, New York ranked #46, with 61.5 percent of children inoculated, Maine ranked #26, Rhode Island #24 and Massachusetts #20.