We came across an interesting piece in Bloomberg Businessweek yesterday, which we thought we’d share this morning.
Vacinnation programs and public health insurance programs for children like the Vaccines for Children Program (VCF) and The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) may be public health success stories with sharp increases in the number of children on Medicaid getting the vaccinations that they need, but vaccinations among higher-income children are falling off at the same time:
Vaccination rates for children insured by commercial plans dropped almost four percentage points between 2008 and 2009, even though the rate of children on Medicaid getting vaccinated is rising.
“Rates had been gradually improving in the commercial plans. This was the first time we’d seen a drop — and it was a pretty big drop,” said Sarah Thomas, vice president of public policy and communication for the National Committee for Quality Assurance, which recently released its annual State of Health Care Quality report.
Although vaccination rates last year were still mostly higher among children in private health plans rather than Medicaid, researchers and other experts suspect that a counterintuitive trend in American demographics is at work: Parents in a relatively high socio-economic bracket — with more education and relatively high incomes — forgoing vaccines because of fears about their safety, with poor individuals taking good advantage of their access to free or extremely low-cost care to have their children immunized.
It is unnerving considering the public health implications of non-vaccination. Although a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine is readily available (the T-DAP), the recent pertussis epidemic in California has claimed the lives of 10 infants and infected more than 6,200. A single unvaccinated child exposed to the measles virus while abroad resulted in the San Diego measles outbreak of 2008 which included exposures of nearly 850 people to the measles virus, 11 actual cases (all unvaccinated children) and the hospitalization of one infant too young to be vaccinated, many of them upper-income children. Total cost to the public: more than $175,000, enough to cover vaccinations for nearly 180,000 children.
Remember vaccinations are still one of the most low-cost, affordable and effective ways of maintaining your children’s health!
Are you vaccinating your children? Tell us about it!
- 1,500 Cases of Whooping Cough Now Reported in California; Officials Call for Vaccinations of Elderly, Children and Pregnanc Women
- Mobile Immunization Clinics: Have Your Kids Been Vaccinated? Free and Low-Cost Vaccinations for Children
- Link of the Day: InsureKidsNow.gov, a Connection to Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
- How Much Do Children Suffer When Parents Are Uninsured?
- Healthcare Reform: Immediate Changes in Medicaid