For Immediate Release
February 24, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Kansas to be Recognized for Second Most Improvement in
Immunization Coverage Rates

Kansas’ childhood immunization rates have been increasing and those improvements have earned the state the recognition of having the second highest increase in immunization rates for the 4:3:1:3:3:1 series over a three-year period of time.  Kansas will receive an award for its achievement in late March at the 2009 National Immunization Conference.

“By receiving the right immunizations at the right time, Kansas kids are going to have a healthier start in life,” said Governor Kathleen Sebelius. “Immunizations are part of our larger effort to promote preventative care in Kansas. Not only does it improve the health of our citizens, but it keeps costs down for everyone.”

“Each year that we see an increase in immunization rates is a positive step, but to sustain those increases over time and show a positive trend for Kansas is even more significant,” said KDHE Secretary Roderick L. Bremby.  “We have made great progress as a state, but it’s important to recognize that we still have a system to improve and we will continue working with our partners to ensure that Kansas children are immunized on time.”

Kansas will receive the award for showing the second most improvement based on immunization rates from 2004 through 2007.  Over that time period, the state has seen an 11.3 percent increase in coverage in the 4:3:1:3:3:1 series to its current 76.0 percent coverage rate.  Nationally, the average increase was 1.2 percent.  Texas will be recognized as the most improved state with a 13.5 percent increase in the series.  The rates are compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the annual National Immunization Survey (NIS) which provides state-level estimates of immunization coverage among 19 to 35-month-old children.

Starting in 2005 the 4:3:1:3:3:1 series became the standard measure for national Healthy People 2010 reporting.  The series consists of four doses of DTaP vaccine, three doses of polio vaccine, one dose of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, three doses of haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine, three doses of hepatitis B vaccine, and one dose of varicella vaccine.

“Since 2003, KDHE has collaborated with its partners to make changes to the Kansas immunization system, including incorporating recommendations established by the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force.  Those changes have had a positive impact on our state’s immunization rates,” Bremby said.  “Currently we are involved in Immunize Kansas Kids, a collaborative effort with the Kansas Health Institute.  Our hope is that as we begin to implement the findings from that effort we will continue to see success and make even more progress in our immunization coverage rates.” 

The following actions have been implemented since 2003 to increase the state’s immunization rates: