San Diego Reports High Vaccination Rates
By Ana Gomez Salcido
More parents in San Diego County are vaccinating their children compared to the state and the nation, according to a survey conducted by the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).
The survey revealed that 80.6 percent of San Diego County children between the ages of 19 and 35 months have received the recommended vaccines. The percentage is just above the federal government’s Healthy People 2020 recommended target of 80 percent.
Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. For three decades, Healthy People has established benchmarks and monitored progress over time in order to encourage collaborations across communities and sectors, empower individuals toward making informed health decisions and to measure the impact of prevention activities.
The percentage of fully immunized San Diego children between the ages of 19 and 35 months is higher than the state (65.3 percent) and the nation (70.7 percent). Immunization percentages for California and the country came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s VaxView.
“We’re ahead of California and the United States, and that is great news for our children,” said Wilma Wooten, County public health officer. “The higher the vaccination rates, the lower the risks of children getting sick and infecting others.”
HHSA interviewers made more than 550,000 random calls and conducted nearly 4,000 surveys over an 11-month period, between July 2016 and May 2017. Interviewers asked questions about vaccination status of people in different age groups, across the life course, to determine how many people are up-to-date on immunizations. The interviews were conducted in multiple languages to reach a more comprehensive sample of the region’s population.
The percentages of San Diego County adolescents between 13 and 17 years of age who have been vaccinated against chickenpox, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) and meningococcal disease also exceed the Healthy People 2020 targets, as well as the state and national averages.
The survey also collected information on influenza vaccine coverage. The results show people in San Diego, especially those at higher risk of developing complications, are getting vaccinated against influenza.
Wooten explained the data from the survey will be used to plan education and outreach campaigns on the importance of getting all the recommended vaccines.
“Vaccines are the most effective tool we have to keep San Diegans healthy,” Wooten said. “We must do all we can to inform our San Diego communities about how to protect themselves from vaccine preventable diseases.”
The recommended vaccines are available at doctors’ offices, community clinics, or retail pharmacies. Those with no medical insurance can get vaccinated at a County public health center.