Study finds Nevada’s overall vaccination rate as one of nation’s worst

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LM Otero / AP

In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, photo, a patient receives an influenza vaccine in Mesquite, Texas.

Tue, Sep 14, 2021 (2 a.m.)

Nevada is the 47th-least vaccinated state in the country, according to the personal finance website WalletHub.

WalletHub analyzed all the states and the District of Columbia across 17 metrics in the general areas of child and adult immunization rates against a range of diseases and disparities and influencing factors in vaccine uptake.

Overall, Nevada sits one spot below Alabama and one above Arizona in the rankings. Massachusetts ranked first, while Mississippi ranked last.

Some of Nevada’s specific rankings:

•Toddlers with the full combined 7-vaccine series (diphtheria-tetanus-whooping cough, polio, measles-mumps-rubella, Hib, hepatitis B, chicken pox, pneumococcal conjugate): 21st out of 51 (71.3% vaccinated)

•Adult pneumococcal (pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis) vaccination rate: 45th (29.8% vaccinated)

•Senior shingles vaccination rate: 46th (34.1% vaccinated)

•Adult flu vaccination rate: 47th (42.3% vaccinated)

•Child flu vaccination rate: 50th (52% vaccinated)

COVID-19 vaccination didn’t factor into the study, which was released this week.

However, experts referenced the role the COVID-19 vaccine is having in the current national conversation. A total of 49% of Nevadans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I would like to see investments in expanded infrastructure that will live on past the pandemic to support work related to infectious diseases,” Henna Budhwani, a professor at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, told the website. “Considering the current circumstances, we need to ensure that the general public understands that many hospitals now lack ICU beds, so individual liberties and expression of autonomy, specifically to refuse vaccination, have consequences that can affect other health outcomes, such as the inability to access the emergency departments, cancellation of elective surgeries, etcetera.”

Time is now for flu shot

Nevada’s worst performances in the WalletHub study were in flu vaccination, reflecting the state’s consistent lagging in this area.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines the flu season as October through May, with the infection peak typically occurring between December and February. Vaccine demand usually peaks in early October; shots are available now.

But last year, as of early December, only about 20% of Nevadans had gotten a flu shot despite increased messaging to prevent an overwhelming “twindemic” before COVID-19 vaccines were available.

Last year’s flu activity ultimately turned out “unusually low” in the U.S. and globally, likely because of COVID-19 prevention measures, the CDC says. The Southern Nevada Health District said much the same Monday about local flu spread, saying that the seasonal flu led to six known deaths and 50 hospitalizations last year in Clark County. (The year before, there were 54 flu deaths and 1,398 hospitalizations.)

Health district officials added, though, that this year’s flu season could be more active because many of the strict COVID-19 mitigation measures of a year ago have since eased.

“We are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and another flu season is nearly here. We are encouraging people to get vaccinated to prevent themselves from getting infected and staying healthy,” said health district health officer Dr. Fermin Leguen in a statement.

“Getting a flu vaccine can ensure that our medical resources are not overwhelmed as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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