September 14, 2006
The immunization rate for Texas children increased 11 percent in 2005, moving the state up in the national rankings to No. 24, according to statistics released today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Thousands of young Texans are healthier because of an aggressive immunization outreach effort by state officials,” Gov. Rick Perry said. “This is the kind of progress I envisioned when I issued an executive order to improve our immunization program.”
In 2003, Gov. Perry signed an executive order directing the Texas Department of Health (now the Department of State Health Services) to implement a comprehensive plan to increase immunization rates statewide.
The CDC’s National Immunization Survey, which tracks immunization rates among preschool children, found that the Texas rate for a key vaccine series was 76.8 percent in 2005. That’s an 11 percent increase over the state’s 2004 rate of 69.3 percent, and it’s the first time since the survey’s inception in 1995 that Texas ranked above the national average. Texas now ranks 24th in the nation for immunization rates, up from 41st in 2004.
“This is excellent news, and it reflects a steadfast focus on improving our immunization rates,” said Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. “Because the National Immunization Survey measures how many children receive a complete vaccination series, a state can’t change this rate overnight. It takes a couple of years of sustained effort to see significant improvement, and we’ve certainly been doing that in Texas.”
He stressed that continued effort is needed for continued improvement.
The national survey also examined immunization rates in four Texas metropolitan areas:
- The Houston rate increased 24 percent to 76.6 percent from 61.7 percent.
- The El Paso County rate increased 9 percent to 69.2 percent from 63.5 percent.
- The Dallas County rate increased 8 percent to 72.8 percent from 67.1 percent.
- The Bexar County rate decreased 3 percent to 71.3 percent from 73.3 percent.
The National Immunization Survey provides vaccination coverage estimates for children 19 through 35 months of age. State rankings are based on the percentage of children completing the 4:3:1:3:3:1 series of immunizations. That series includes four doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP), three doses of polio vaccine, one dose of measles-containing vaccine, three doses of Hib vaccine, three doses of hepatitis B vaccine and one dose of varicella vaccine.
(News media: for more information contact Jack Sims, DSHS Immunization Branch, 512-458-7607; or Emily Palmer, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-458-7400.)