How’s the vaccine uptake in Puerto Rico? Ask the Guardian

At the Guardian’s Rio Formato science website we are keen to learn about Puerto Rico’s immunisation record. Here we have compiled the current stats for each year. What vaccine did the most people get?…

How's the vaccine uptake in Puerto Rico? Ask the Guardian

At the Guardian’s Rio Formato science website we are keen to learn about Puerto Rico’s immunisation record. Here we have compiled the current stats for each year.

What vaccine did the most people get?

In 2017, about 35% of those in Puerto Rico got one or more doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines. This is far higher than the average of about 28% in the US mainland.

How do those numbers compare to other years?

In 2004, the vaccines received by at least 15% of children over one or more vaccines were counted as “high risk”. For vaccination rates to be considered high, for every 100 children eligible for the shots, at least 20% must receive them. There were 22,796 children eligible for MMR, but only 16,764 received at least one dose. The MMR vaccination rate that year was 38.6%.

What is the high-risk category for the MMR vaccine?

There are two groups identified for the MMR vaccine: children who have not received the shot before due to birth defect that results in low immunity (e.g. spina bifida) and children with exposure to hepatitis B infection.

Here is a look at child immunisation rates in 2016 in Puerto Rico and the United States. The U.S. averaged 29.4% in 2016 while Puerto Rico, which has a 20-30% life expectancy, had a target rate of 65% in 2016 – the target being to ensure that all children born in the year receive the MMR vaccine.

How do the numbers compare with what they were a decade ago?

In 2002, 15% of children received at least one dose of the MMR vaccine in Puerto Rico and 24.8% received at least one dose in the U.S. In 2006, the numbers rose to 25.3% in Puerto Rico and 33.6% in the U.S. As of 2016, 37.3% of Puerto Rico children and 30.8% of children in the U.S. received the MMR vaccine.

In the years since it became a US territory, childhood vaccination coverage in Puerto Rico has steadily increased. For example, the number of eligible children receiving at least one dose of the MMR vaccination rose from 33.8% in 2005 to 48.2% in 2015.

Just how high is the vaccination rate in US territories?

Puerto Rico is the highest-in-the-United-States vaccination rate for children under 18 years old, and has been for about 12 years. The level of vaccinations is the highest it has been in the last 20 years.

How do you monitor global vaccination?

In June 2016, the WHO published the first-ever global report on childhood vaccinations that “shows for the first time that high levels of immunisation are possible in spite of a range of regional and global challenges”. The WHO state that “there is no scientific doubt that fully immunised children are less likely to die from childhood diseases” and that “vaccine uptake is a key determinant of childhood health”.

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