Some states are better than others when it comes to vaccinating their residents, and Texas is one of the worst, according to a new study.
“The problem seems to go deeper than that as Texas has the highest share of people without health insurance at 17.2%, and the third lowest share of the population participating in an immunization information system,” said WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez
The WalletHub study found that Texas is the third least vaccinated state.
“The fact that Texas ranks so low is an indication that many of its children are not protected against serious diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, HepB and several others,” Gonzalez told Dallas Express.
The study further found that only 67.8% of children aged 19-35 months have the combined 7-vaccine series, the tenth lowest percentage nationwide. Plus, only 48.4% of Texas’ teenagers aged 13-17 have up-to-date HPV vaccination, and just 84.8% have Tdap vaccination, which is among the lowest percentages in the country.
“We did not look into the reasoning behind these low vaccination rates,” Gonzalez said in an interview. “It could be that some people refuse to vaccinate themselves or their children because they don’t understand the importance of being protected against serious diseases, or because they don’t believe those illnesses will affect them.”
The adult flu vaccination rate in Texas is the fourth lowest at 42.2%, and the tetanus vaccination rate is the eighth lowest at 65.6%. To date, among Texans who are 13 years old to 64 years old, 59.18% are fully vaccinated statewide against COVID-19, according to the state’s vaccine dashboard.
“The rate of vaccination can be increased by raising awareness about the importance of vaccines,” Gonzalez said. “Educating people on the benefits of getting vaccinated will clearly increase vaccination rates across the state.”
Now that Pres. Joe Biden has announced the federal government will likely require businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or provide coronavirus testing, more Texans will likely consent to the shot.
“This kind of decision from the federal government would clearly impact a lot of the country’s workforce, Texas included,” said Gonzalez. “Businesses would have to comply. This is a decision that would surely have an economic impact.”
The state of Massachusetts is the most vaccinated state, followed by Vermont and Rhode Island.
“It could be because doctors and health workers are doing a better job of explaining why these vaccines are important, and what the benefits of getting vaccinated are,” Gonzalez added. “The top three states are doing so much better essentially because their residents are getting vaccinated, and they accept to vaccinate their children. They also have a lot more residents with health insurance coverage, and a lot less people living in health professional shortage areas.”