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Fewer New Mexico Kids Vaccinated For Hepatitis A

Ed Williams-KUNM


(Click here to access the interactive map of vaccine rates)

Newly released figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show New Mexico ranks near the bottom for statewide child vaccination rates for hepatitis A

The data shows just over 49 percent of children here received vaccinations for Hepatitis A last year, down from 52 percent in 2012. That puts our state below the national hep A vaccination rate of 55 percent.

That’s a significant drop in child vaccinations, according to Daniel Burke of the New Mexico Department of Health. Burke says a decrease in health care providers offering vaccinations and a rise in people opting out of vaccine requirements could help explain the last year’s low numbers.

“New Mexico law allows people to request either or a religious or a medical exemption from getting vaccines, and we’ve had a slow increase in the number of  people who are exempt from getting their children vaccinated,” Burke said in an interview. 

New Mexico came in 43rd out of 51 in the list of state vaccination rates for the liver disease, including the District of Columbia. Rhode Island led the country with a vaccination rate of 61 percent.

The CDC reports that nationwide, children below the federal poverty level tended to have lower vaccination rates overall.

Ed Williams came to KUNM in 2014 by way of Carbondale, Colorado, where he worked as a public radio reporter covering environmental issues. Originally from Austin, Texas, Ed has reported on environmental, social justice, immigration and Native American issues in the U.S. and Latin America for the Austin American-Statesman, Z Magazine, NPR’s Latino USA and others. In his spare time, look for Ed riding his mountain bike in the Sandias or sparring on the jiu-jitsu mat.
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