Adolescent vaccination rates in Rochester are the highest in the state and among the highest in the nation, according to a new study of medical claims by the BlueCross BlueShield Association.
The study examined U.S. claims for 1.3 million children born in 2000-03 and commercially insured by BlueCross BlueShield plans. The study focused on three vaccines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend for adolescents by their 13th birthday: tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis; meningococcal; and HPV.
In Rochester, 95.6 percent of all adolescents receive the Tdap vaccine, compared to 87.8 percent statewide and 81.7 percent nationwide; 90.5 percent receive the meningococcal vaccine, compared to 73.9 percent statewide and 72.1 percent nationwide; and 46.1 percent receive the first of three doses of the HPV vaccine, compared to 27 percent statewide and 28.7 percent nationwide. The recommended three doses are administered to 18.5 percent of adolescents in Rochester, compared to 5.7 percent statewide and 7.3 percent nationwide.
“Physicians in our community are doing a great job when it comes to administering vaccines to adolescents,” said Martin Lustick, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
Monroe County has childhood vaccination rates that are among the highest in the nation, but, despite having an HPV vaccination rate that’s nearly double the state and national rates, Lustick said there is a need for continued education regarding the HPV vaccine.
“It’s disappointing to see HPV vaccination rates so low, especially in Rochester since the vaccine was developed, in part, by researchers at University of Rochester,” Lustick said. “The clinical evidence is clear that the HPV vaccine can reduce the risk of infections that cause several types of cancer in both men and women. Most side effects of the vaccine are mild, and are far outweighed by the benefit of preventing cancer.”
According to the CDC, HPV infections are so common that nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives. Sometimes, HPV infections can cause certain cancers and other diseases. HPV causes 30,700 cancers annually in the U.S.
The Finger Lakes region has the lowest uninsured rate in modern times, which might explain why Rochester has among the best record on vaccinations in the state and nation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the 2016 uninsured rate in the Finger Lakes was 3.6 percent, half the national rate of 8.6 percent.
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