Each year the CDC conducts the National Immunization Survey (NIS) to estimate childhood and teen immunization rates. Immunize Nevada uses this data for our state immunization report card, and to see how we compare to the rest of the nation. The most recent survey data indicates many Nevada parents are protecting their children from vaccine-preventable diseases by making sure they are getting recommended vaccines. While we continue to see rates increase, there is room for improvement to ensure all children receive all vaccines at the recommended ages. Differences in vaccination rates by race and ethnicity, poverty status, and insurance status highlight the limitations of current systems intended to provide access to, and delivery of, vaccines to all children at recommended ages.
Despite these challenges, it’s inspiring to see the direct impact of the work our state, partners, and healthcare providers have done to improve our childhood and teen immunization rates. The CDC encourages healthcare professionals to use every opportunity to administer recommended vaccines and ensure their patients have received all of the recommended doses of vaccines. Our recent Healthy People 2020 Silver Syringe practice winners are shining examples of the result of this hard work.
The survey estimates vaccination coverage for the combined vaccine series for children aged 19-35 months. Nevada’s immunization coverage ranking for children aged 19-35 months jumped to 24th in the nation, an improvement from 31st in 2015. Our immunization rate of 71.9 percent surpassed the U.S. national average of 70.7 percent and our region’s (Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada) average of 66.6 percent.
In the 2016 NIS-Teen Survey, coverage with one dose of the HPV vaccine increased among all adolescents aged 13-17 years by 12 percent compared to 2015; almost two-thirds of Nevada’s teens have initiated the vaccine series to protect them from HPV cancers. While the overall increases are impressive, one dose HPV vaccine coverage rates increased dramatically for male adolescents by 46 percent from 2015. Recently updated vaccination recommendations make it simpler for parents and healthcare professionals to prevent cancer.
The increase in males receiving the HPV vaccine is especially important in preventing devastating oral and neck cancers that are rising significantly in males. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated about 3,200 new cases of HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancers are diagnosed in women and about 13,200 are diagnosed in men each year in the United States. Every year adolescents are not vaccinated is another year they risk being exposed to cancer-causing infections.
2016-17 Season NIS-Flu
Each influenza season, the CDC estimates annual influenza vaccination coverage for the United States by utilizing data from several nationally representative surveys. During 2016-17, influenza vaccination coverage for the general population in Nevada was last in the U.S. at 36.1 percent, compared to 46.8 percent for the U.S. and 46.4 for our region. However, our highest rates (58 percent) are for the most vulnerable in our commuity - children under the age of 4 and adults over the age of 65. These numbers are still well below the Healthy People 2020 Objective of 70 percent. Influenza is a leading cause of death in Nevada and it’s up to all of us to get an annual flu vaccine and encourage our loved ones to do the same. This is one area where we can, and need, to do better.
Immunizations aren’t just about you, they’re also about those for whom diseases are a deadly threat - protecting babies, seniors, and individuals with compromised immune systems. Families, healthcare professionals, and public health officials must work together to protect our entire community. The immunization and health resources we provide are utilized every day - parents seeking evidence-based information, adults looking for a location to get vaccinated, healthcare professionals updating their knowledge, and so many more.
While we still have germs and viruses to fight, Nevada has strength in numbers and we are achieving more together than we each could alone. You can download the full Immunization Report Card here; and you can also learn about the impact of our coalition partners’ work across Nevada. Collectively, we are helping Nevadans live longer, healthier lives by protecting them through vaccination.