Protecting Iowa’s Immunization Rates

Vaccines are one of the greatest public health achievements and prevent millions of deaths and disability worldwide. Vaccine requirements, such as for school enrollment, are a tool that is used to ensure the population is protected from disease. Achieving and maintaining high vaccination rates across the life span are two of the most important safeguards to prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases, including infections, cancers, and other chronic diseases.

This is a priority because…

  • Vaccine hesitancy is recognized as one of the Top 10 threats to global public health in 2019.
  • For every $1 spent on vaccines, $10.10 is saved. (source)
  • Vaccination protects the individual and prevents the spread of disease in Iowa’s communities.

Iowa’s vaccination rates are at or above national averages, yet vaccine hesitancy is growing. Non-medical exemptions for vaccine requirements weaken Iowa’s overall protection against vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, whooping cough, and varicella. Thanks to vaccines, we no longer commonly see the devastation of these once common diseases.

While the primary goal of Iowa’s robust vaccination program is healthier lives, vaccination also makes sense financially.

Each of the 11 vaccines given routinely to children reduce overall medical costs by eliminating or greatly reducing the expense of treating diseases. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports vaccines administered to children and infants over the past two decades will prevent 381 million illnesses, help avoid 855,000 deaths and save nearly $1.65 trillion in total societal costs.

The time to act is now. Improving vaccination rates can be accomplished through enhanced access to vaccine providers, vaccinating children during healthcare visits, and addressing vaccine hesitancy.  Vaccination coverage can be increased by improving access to vaccine providers and eliminating missed opportunities to vaccinate children during health care visits. 

Iowa resources

Iowa Department of Public Health 

Iowa Public Health Data Tracking Portal 

Iowa Immunization Schedule 

National resources

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

2019 State of the Immunion

Immunizations in Iowa 2018 Annual Report

Vaccines for Travelers (US Department of Health and Human Services

American Public Health Association