A new CDC report on the 2013-2014 flu season shines a surprising light on certain parts of the nation. Last year, 46.2% of the US population were vaccinated against the flu, but some states and demographics fell way below that national average.
One standout was Utah where only 41.5% of the population received a flu shot. At five percent below the national average, Utah’s vaccination rate is nowhere near the worst in the nation, but what is going on with younger individuals in this state is far more surprising. The flu vaccination rate in children ages 6 months to 17 years old was 9% below the national average.
Why are so many children in Utah going unvaccinated? And, why is the same thing happening in Idaho?
Indeed, the state most famous for its potatoes is 13.4% below the national average for child vaccinations, nearly double its deficit for adults which sits at 6.9% below average.
It is troubling that in both states, a large number of adults are deciding not just to forego vaccinations for themselves, but also for their children.
Meanwhile, states such as New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island are far above the national average vaccination rate, and 12 to 19 percent more children living in these areas receive flu vaccines than their counterparts out West.
Although the CDC has not released any reasons for the vaccination gaps among various locales, questions need to be asked. Is this an East vs. West difference? A difference in availability? A difference in culture? Or simply a difference in parenting?
We’d like to hear from you, so please leave a comment on why you decide to get your child a flu vaccination and why you think these differences might exist.