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January 18, 2018

Philadelphia children receiving CDC-recommended vaccines in greater numbers

Study shows upward trend among insured kids

Pediatrics Vaccines
Vaccination rates PA Images/Sipa USA

A nurse prepares to give a patient a vaccine. According to data from the Philadelphia region, vaccinations rates among children with health insurance are increasing.

Children across the Philadelphia region are increasingly receiving the vaccinations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, according to a new study of on insurance providers medical claims data.

The upward trend is based on analysis of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association's young insured members between 2010 through 2016. Among that group, childhood vaccination rates were 85.4 percent in the Philadelphia region compared to 73.5 percent of young BCBS members nationally during the same seven-year span. 

The CDC recommends 15 vaccinations from birth to 15 months, followed by another 15 vaccinations from 18 months to 18 years. 

In the Philadelphia area, the study found that 82.9 percent of young BCBS members born in 2010 had been fully vaccinated by the age of 2 years and 3 months compared to 86.7 percent of children in this region born in 2013.

Nationally, an 8 percent increase in full vaccinations at the same age brought the country's childhood vaccine rate up from 69 percent in 2010 to 77 percent in 2013. 

Just 3.8 percent of Philadelphia-area medical claims analyzed in the study were coded with a parental vaccine refusal from 2010 through 2016. Nationally, the refusal rate was a lower 3.3 percent, but climbed from 2.5 percent for children born in 2010 to 4.2 percent for children born in 2013.

“Few things match the benefits and safety of vaccinations in keeping our children healthy,” said Dr. Anna Baldino, medical director at Independence Blue Cross and a board-certified pediatrician. “The increase in vaccination rates is good news, but more can be done to raise that even higher. For example, we highly encourage parents to bring their children in for well-child visits. These are very important and one of the best ways to ensure their children are getting the proper vaccinations.”

A report on the study, "Early Childhood Vaccination Trends in America," provides a comprehensive look at outpatient medical claims from continually insured BCBS members who were vaccinated by 2 years and 3 months of age between 2010 and 2016.

This  study was the 17th of the Blue Cross Blue Shield: The Health of America Report series, a collaboration between BCBSA and Blue Health Intelligence.

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