Rhode Island receives high marks in national vaccination data

The Rhode Island Department of Health highlighted data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday that showed statewide immunization rates for children and teens as among the highest in the country.

The CDC data showed that Rhode Island's immunization rate for children 19-35 months of age was 82 percent for the childhood vaccine series that protects against 11 diseases, including influenza, polio and measles. Rhode Island ranked first in the nation in the category.

Other highlights of the data include a 92 percent vaccination rate among adolescents for diseases including chicken pox and hepatitis B. The state also ranked highest in the country for vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV), with 77 percent of girls and 69 percent of boys receiving at least one dose.

"Children in Rhode Island are protected against many dangerous diseases thanks to the dedication of Rhode Island's pediatricians, family physicians, school personnel, and many other unsung heroes," Rhode Island Director of Health Michael Fine said. "But as proud as I am of these numbers, we still have more work to do."

The CDC data was gathered from the annual National Immunization Survey, which is conducted through random phone calls to parents and guardians and follow-up with healthcare providers.

Healthy People 2020, a CDC initiative to set national health goals, encourages states to reach immunization rates of 90 percent for most childhood and adolescent vaccines.