September 07, 2016
1 min read

Teen vaccination coverage greater in 'blue' states vs. 'red' states

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact

Adolescent immunization coverage in the United States is dependent on an individual’s state of residence due to social, religious, economic and political worldviews that influence vaccination acceptance, according to data published in the American Journal of Public Health.

“Vaccination recommendations are grounded on safety and efficacy data as well as clinical and epidemiological considerations, but public acceptance of those recommendations is influenced by a complex mix of psychological, sociocultural and political factors,” Steven Bernstein, MD, professor of emergency medicine and health policy and vice chairman of academic affairs at Yale Cancer Center, and colleagues wrote. “Three vaccines are currently recommended for routine use in adolescents aged 11 to 12 years: Tdap, meningococcal conjugate (MCV4), and HPV; however, immunization rates for HPV remain substantially lower than those for Tdap and MCV4.”

To determine associations between Democratic (deemed “blue”) and Republican (deemed “red”) states and adolescent coverage for these vaccines, Bernstein and colleagues examined state-level voting patterns based on the 2012 presidential election results and state-level vaccination coverage estimates from the 2012 National Immunization Survey-Teen. Data were adjusted for sociodemographic, health care access and vaccination policies as potential confounding factors. Separate models were used for boys and girls for HPV.

Wider adolescent vaccination coverage correlated more strongly with blue states vs. red states (P < .05). The adjusted differences in percentage between vaccine coverage in blue and red states was 10.2% for HPV among girls (P = .012) and 24.9% for HPV among boys (P < 001); 6.2% for Tdap (P = .004); and 14.1% for MCV4 (P < .001).

“Our findings suggest the potential value in directing heightened attention to the specific experiences of states sharing a common political affiliation during such interactions,” the researchers wrote. “Such a focus may yield insights and lessons that are especially well-suited to implementation among politically similar states that are particularly capable of producing their intended benefits for vaccination coverage and public health.” – by Kate Sherrer

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.