High immunization rates protect us all from diseases. The CDC’s National Immunization Survey¬†provides up-to-date estimates of vaccinations for children and adolescents, and allows us to track rates of vaccinations over time – and compare them to different cities and states.

Pediatric immunization rates

Philadelphia has high pediatric immunization rates. The rate of children in Philadelphia who have received many important vaccines meet or exceed Healthy People 2020 goals. And, most of Philadelphia’s childhood immunization rates for different vaccines exceed Pennsylvania and National rates.

For some of these vaccines, immunization rates have risen for years – notably 2 doses of Hepatitis A, Rotavirus, and the 7-vaccine series.

But for other vaccines, immunization rates have remained consistently high – indicating that Philadelphia is doing a great job of protecting its youngest, most vulnerable residents from dangerous diseases.

Adolescent immunization rates

Like its pediatric immunization rates, Philadelphia’s immunization rates for children age 13 to 17 are quite high.

For several key adolescent immunizations, Philadelphia’s immunization rate exceeds national rates, and exceeds Healthy People 2020 goals. For an up-to-date dose of HPV vaccine, however, Philadelphia does not yet meet Healthy People 2020 goals – though Philadelphia’s HPV adolescent immunization rate surpasses the national rate.

Philadelphia’s high adolescent immunization rates exceed those of similar cities that the National Immunization Survey covers. The data show that both Philadelphia and Pennsylvania as a whole are doing a great job of protecting adolescents.

These immunization rates have risen or stayed high for years. Notably, a big push in recent years to get more adolescents protected from human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually-transmitted infection that can cause cancer, has resulted in higher coverage rates for both males and females.

A small drop in the coverage rates for males from 2015 to 2016 is within the survey’s margin of error, and may not indicate an actual drop in the percent of males covered by the HPV vaccine.

Why are these rates so good?

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health works to increase and maintain these vaccination rates by:

  • Educating providers about recommendations
  • Supporting providers with tools that help them identify, treat, and follow up with their patients
  • Encouraging people to get their shots – and to vaccinate their children according to recommended schedules
  • Distributing vaccines at no cost to providers, for them to administer to at-risk children and low-income adults

As a result of this work, Philadelphia has very low numbers of the diseases that these vaccines prevent. This shows that high immunization rates are working by preventing outbreaks, and it’s a sign that we need to keep up the work.

It takes a village, so here’s how you can help

Keeping these immunization rates high means that we’re all protecting ourselves and each other from dangerous diseases. When our city has high immunization rates, it means that:

  • People who are immunized don’t get sick
  • We help protect those who can’t be immunized due to certain medical conditions
  • Students stay in school, adults can keep working, and our society and economy save money by stopping diseases before they start

So what can you do to help?

  • If you have kids, take them to the doctor and get them immunized to protect them and others
  • Visit your doctor and ask about adult immunizations that might be right for you
  • Get a flu shot every year