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Why Aren't More Kids Vaccinated in the US?

Many Kids Aren't Getting Vaccinated — and It Has Nothing to Do With Antivaxxers

Good news: childhood vaccination rates are on the rise and increased by 12 percent from 2010 to 2016, according to a report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. And while we're jumping for joy at that statistic, the report also shed light on the biggest reason kids aren't getting vaccinated — and it has nothing to do with the antivaxx movement. The main reason little ones aren't getting vaccinated on time? Missed doctor appointments.

The report Early Childhood Vaccination Trends in America found 77 percent of those born in 2013 were up to date on their vaccinations, which is a series of seven vaccines given over a three-year period. This amount is up from the 69 percent of kids born in 2010 who completed the vaccine series. Researchers also found that the most common reason for babies not being completely up to date with their vaccines was because parents missed their child's wellness visits and forgot to reschedule them. In total, missed doctor appointments accounted for 62 percent of undervaccinated cases for children born in 2013.

And, honestly, that's pretty shocking. What's more, the report broke down the vaccination rates by state and found North Dakota had the highest percentage of vaccinated children, at 86 percent, while Nevada came in last, at 63 percent. They even went as far as to evaluate major metropolitan areas and concluded that the nation's highest vaccination rate was in Fargo, ND (92 percent), and the region with the lowest vaccination rate was Albany, NY (63 percent).

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Lastly, the group analyzed the documented parental/guardian vaccine refusal rates for babies who were born in 2013 and found that it climbed nationwide from 2.5 percent for children born in 2010 to 4.2 percent for kids born in 2013. According to the research, the state with the highest rate of refusal was New York — by a landslide. The region with the highest parental refusal rate was 25.6 percent, in Richmond County, NY (which includes Staten Island).

"While new advances in medicine are important, this report reminds us that vaccinations remain a fundamental healthcare innovation that substantially reduces morbidity and mortality for Americans," said Dr. Trent Haywood, senior vice president and chief medical officer for BCBSA, in a press release. "Continued public health efforts can increase childhood vaccination rates by simply touting the benefits of attending regular children's checkups. This report demonstrates that vaccine use among commercially insured people in the US is increasing in the right direction. The data, however, also show large regional variation, indicating there are further improvements to be made."

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