There’s no disputing that 2015 was the best year in Maine’s history when it comes to vaccination rates.
In August, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention tapped Maine as number one in the nation for vaccination rates for children age 19 to 35 months and recently, the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases presented the Maine Immunization Program with six additional awards for its high level of vaccination coverage for virtually all ages.
Maine reached the Healthy People 2020 goals for vaccination in children age 19-35 months, adolescents age 13 to 17 and for influenza vaccine for children from age 6 months to 17 years.
In addition, Maine was cited for having the highest pneumococcal vaccination coverage among high-risk adults age 18 to 64, and earned Most Improved honors for that same population, as well as children 19-35 months.
“This recognition means that the hard work of our staff , medical providers, school personnel and our many partners from Kittery to Fort Kent is paying off,’’ said Maine Immunization Program Manager Tonya Philbrick. “Parents are receiving the information they need to make informed decisions, and people are taking action to protect themselves against the flu, pneumonia and other diseases. Maine’s intense effort through many different initiatives has made a difference. While there’s more work to be done, I could not be happier with the results.”
A key to the success has been communication with the more than 400 providers who are registered with the Maine Immunization Program and offering free vaccine to their eligible patients. Many receive practice-level data around vaccination rates and all have access to county-level data for comparison. The program also partners with more than with more than 130 schools and school districts to hold on-site influenza vaccination clinics.
“While these awards are presented to our program, the credit must be shared with many other partners within state government and in the private sector,’’ said Kenneth Albert, Director and Chief Operating Officer for the Maine CDC. “This success serves as striking example of how a coordinated public health effort can yield amazing results.”
The mission of the Maine Immunization Program is to reduce or eliminate all vaccine preventable diseases, and immunizations are the single most important way to protect against serious and sometimes deadly diseases.
To learn more about how to receive free vaccine for your child, ask your health care provider, contact the Maine Immunization Program at 1-800-867-4775 or visithttp://www.immunizeme.org