New findings from WalletHub pinpointed which states are falling short when it comes to vaccination rates.

By Maressa Brown
October 02, 2019
Illustration by Sarina Finkelstein; Getty Images (2)

Vaccination might be considered a hot button topic across the country, but the facts underscore its importance. Immunizations have drastically reduced previously widespread diseases like polio, tetanus, measles, and chicken pox. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) notes that vaccines prevented at least 10 million deaths worldwide between 2010 and 2015. But in the U.S., rates of vaccination vary from state to state.

WalletHub set out to find out where people are most responsible for getting their shots, examining the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Here's what they found.

How the Research Was Done

WalletHub looked at three main areas of data for all 50 states and D.C.: Children & Teenagers Immunization Rates, Adult & Elderly Vaccination Rates, and Immunization Uptake Disparities & Influencing Factors. Within these areas were 18 metrics, like a state's share of children aged 19-35 months with combined 7-Vaccine series or its flu shot rate among kids aged 6 months to 17 years old. They then calculated each state and the District's weighted average across all metrics to land on its final score.

States' Rates of Vaccination, Ranked From Worst to Best

51. Mississippi

50. Texas

49. Florida

48. Georgia

47. Indiana

46. Arizona

45. Nevada

44. New Jersey

43. New York

42. Wyoming

41. Missouri

40. California

39. Louisiana

38. Idaho

37. Ohio

36. Oklahoma

35. Kentucky

34. Hawaii

33. South Carolina

32. Michigan

31. Alaska

30. New Mexico

29. Utah

28. Arkansas

27. Tennessee

26. Montana

25. Alabama

24. Illinois

23. North Carolina

22. Connecticut

21. Kansas

20. Wisconsin

19. District of Columbia

18. Colorado

17. Pennsylvania

16. Oregon

15. Virginia

14. Maine

13. Iowa

12. Maryland

11. Minnesota

10. Washington

9. West Virginia

8. South Dakota

7. Delaware

6. Nebraska

5. New Hampshire

4. North Dakota

3. Rhode Island

2. Vermont

1. Massachusetts

The data also pinpointed the worst states in more specific categories:

Lowest Flu Shot Rates in Children 6 Months-17 Years Old

51. Wyoming

50. Florida

49. Utah

48. Idaho

47. Alaska

Lowest Share of Teens Aged 13-17 With Up-to-Date HPV Vaccination

51. Mississippi

50. Oklahoma

49. Kansas

48. South Carolina

47. Wyoming

Lowest Share of Children 19-35 Months Old Living in Poverty with Combined 7-Vaccine Series

51. California

50. Michigan

49. Virginia

48. Montana

Tied for 46. New York & New Jersey

The Bottom Line

As the report points out, the World Health Organization cites vaccine resistance as one of the top 10 threats to global health. That said, WalletHub's findings prove that there's much room for improvement when it comes to beating anti-vaccination trends and spreading knowledge about the benefits and science behind vaccines.

As Stephen S. Morse, a professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York, who offered his expert insight to the report, noted, "It’s a modern luxury (and a myth) to think that we can escape these diseases without vaccination. It really depends on those who are vaccinated to protect both themselves and their neighbors. When vaccine coverage reaches a critical low, a community becomes susceptible and we see outbreaks of measles and other infections."


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