Childhood Immunizations

Figure: Percentage of children 19-35 months of age who who up to date on vaccinations 4:3:1:3:3:1:4 (DTP, Polio, MMR, Flu, Hepatitis B, Varicella, Pneumococcal), 2009-2021.

Data source: NM IBIS, National Immunization Survey

How is New Mexico Doing?

In 2021, 73.0% of NM children age 19-35 months of age were up to date for the vaccine combination of 4:3:1:3:3:1:4, a series made up of immunizations for 4 Diptheria-Tetanus-Pertussis shots, 3 Polio, 1 Measles-Mumps-Rubella or MCV (Measles-containing vaccine), 3 doses H-Influenza b*, 3 Hepatitis B, 1 dose of Varicella (chicken pox) and 4 doses of Pneumococcal Virus vaccine. The prevalence of fully immunized children has increased significantly in NM and in the U.S. since 2009 when the coverage was under 50%. 

While the prevalence of up-to-date immunizations for this series in New Mexico was above the national average in 2021, the prevalence varied significantly by age group. The percentage of 30-35 month-old children with up to date immunization series was 39.5%, the percentage of 24-29 month old children was 34.2%, and the percent among those 19-23 months was just 26.3% in 2021. 

How does New Mexico compare to the nation?

In the United States, 72.2% of the nation’s children were up-to-date for the 4:3:1:3:3:1:4 immunizations in 2021. New Mexico had a slightly higher prevalence of immunization coverage in 2021, but in most report years since 2009 the prevalence has been statistically comparable to the U.S. average. 

young boy getting an immunization

What does this mean?

Keeping children safe from disease by immunizing them is a critical mission for the Department of Health and healthcare providers around the state. The Vaccine Purchase Act, which passed in 2015, asked the Immunization Program to bill insurers for the cost of vaccines for privately insured children. As a result, the $18-$20 million annual budget for the Immunization Program is self-funded, with no cost or impact to the General Fund. New Mexico is a “universal vaccine” state, which means that vaccines are free for any child birth through 18. 

Immunizations are the best way to protect children from serious, preventable diseases. NM is doing well compared to the U.S. but there is still room for improvement.  Some diseases, such as measles, require a vaccination rate as high as 95% in order to fully protect those who are immune-compromised or otherwise cannot be vaccinated.