Puerto Rico is the most vaccinated state in the union, data shows, after it rolled out a new vaccine programme to protect against most diseases in the wake of the Zika crisis.
Campaigns to teach girls that they can aspire to anything they want and protect them from breast cancer require the vaccines most widely available in the US and Puerto Rico at present.
The data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that while the overall vaccination rate for young children and pregnant women is at about 97%, the highest percentage in the nation in each group is in Puerto Rico.
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Puerto Rico was hit by a devastating hurricane this summer, which left 2.4 million people without power, flooding the island’s airport and some of its largest cities. The island also reopened its public health system, which was decimated by Hurricane Maria in September 2017.
The number of vaccinated children rose from 93% in 2013 to 95% last year. Coverage among pregnant women also increased, from 87% to 92%.
Puerto Rico has one of the highest concentrations of Zika virus infection among infants and is among the top 10 most immunized states. That rise has in part been attributed to the roll-out of a vaccine programme, including a “pre-mosquito season” shot and an “early reportable infant tetanus” that protects children and pregnant women from about 100 diseases.
The CDC estimates that because of a measles outbreak this summer and severe measles cases in 2000, Puerto Rico might need a vaccine campaign to increase coverage of the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine to 98%. The program began this year.