Vaccinations Are Safe, Effective, and Important (TPHC)

Texas Public Health Coalition says: Thanks to state policy developments and greater public awareness, more Texans understand the benefits of immunization. As a result, more children and adolescents are getting vaccinated for preventable diseases. Yet natural disasters and pandemics can occur any time and start the spread of a communicable disease. The increasing cost of vaccines and vaccinations also can threaten a community’s protection from a preventable disease. That’s why Texas must monitor vaccinations, develop innovative ways to increase vaccination coverage, and eliminate barriers that deter patients from proper immunizations.

Immunization in Texas: Things You Need to Know

  • About 71 percent of Texas children 19-35 months are fully immunized,1 a slight decrease from 2008 but still above the national average for immunization in young children.
  • Adolescents also need to be immunized. While Texas vaccine coverage among teens increased by about 15 percent from 2008 to 2009, only about 57 percent of teens ages 13-17 are vaccinated against pertussis, and 51 percent are protected against meningococcal disease.2  
  • More costly and new vaccines increase the cost of immunizing children and adolescents. Per-person costs averaged from $155 in 1995 to more than $1,000 for males and $1,400 for females in 2008.3
  • In 2009, Texas experienced almost 8,500 cases of vaccinepreventable infectious diseases.4 More than 90 percent of these were cases of chickenpox and pertussis. Pertussis outbreaks occurred in several Texas areas. Bexar County also had 30 casesof mumps diagnosed.
  • Some of the earliest cases of H1N1 in the United States were diagnosed in Texas in spring 2009. At that time, there was an unprecedented national and state effort to immunize everyone for the H1N1 virus, especially high-risk populations such as health care workers and caregivers of infants.
  • Recent disasters requiring the mobilization of workers throughout Texas and in other states highlight the importance of immunizing and tracking child and adultimmunizations.

2011 Public Health Coalition Immunization Priorities

  • Change ImmTrac, the state’s immunization registry, to an opt-out system.
  • Support a statewide disease prevention and health quality initiative to improve vaccination rates among health care workers, early-childhood care providers, and others working within the patient care infrastructure.
  • Lengthen the amount of time allowed to secure required consent for a patient record to stay in the registry.
  • Expand data-sharing capabilities among states to extend  beyond disaster purposes.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National, state and local area vaccination coverage among children aged 19-35 months –United States, 2009. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2010;59(36):1171-1177.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National, state and local area vaccination coverage among adolescents aged 13-17 years –United States, 2009. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2010;59(32):1018-1023.

3. Lindley M, Shen A, Orenstein W, Rodewald L, Birkhead G. Financing the delivery of vaccines to children and adolescents: challenges to the current system. Pediatrics. 2009;124:S548-S557.

4. Texas Department of State Health Services. Reported Cases of Selected Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in Texas, 2009.