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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Reports Nation-Leading Increase in Immunizations for Children in Michigan

DETROIT, Jan. 18, 2018 – Michigan leads the nation in the increasing percentage of children immunized with all seven Centers for Disease Control (CDC)-recommended childhood vaccinations, according to an analysis of commercially-insured Blue Cross Blue Shield member medical claims data published today by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) in its Health of America report, Childhood Vaccination Trends in AmericaThe report analyzes outpatient medical claims data from commercially-insured Blue Cross members across the nation. Michigan’s rate of increase is more than 28 percent.

“This is really good news for kids today and for future generations,” said Dr. Thomas Simmer, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Kids receiving vaccinations at a young age are protected against potentially life-threatening diseases.  Michigan’s communities will be healthier, too, because vaccinations not only protect the kids from disease, they also prevent diseases from breaking out within our communities.”

For the study, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association compared data for two cohorts of children receiving all CDC-recommended vaccines by the age of two years and three months – from 2010 to 2013, and from 2013-2016.

Standing out in the report are Macomb County, with a 51.7 percent increase, and Berrien County, with a 38.9 percent increase in childhood vaccination rates over the course of the study.  Other highlights include the 29.8 percent increase in Detroit, 27.2 percent increase in Flint and 26.8 percent increase in childhood vaccination rates in the Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland area.

A combination of factors has contributed to the improvement in childhood vaccination rates in Michigan, including collaboration between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and physicians, in addition to efforts by the State of Michigan. These combined efforts have focused on raising awareness of the importance of vaccines and encouraging more children to be immunized against potentially life-threatening diseases.  According to the report, 67.8 percent of Michigan Blue Cross members completed the CDC-recommended vaccination protocol.

“Because of the size of our Michigan membership, we have a high degree of confidence that the increases we’re seeing in our data are reflective of a positive trend happening everywhere in Michigan,” Simmer said.  “We credit this progress to efforts by health plans, physicians and public health agencies across Michigan.  The increase in the number of Michigan children being vaccinated is promising, but there is still more work for us to do.”

While Michigan led the nation in the percentage increase, the data show only 67.8 percent of young, Michigan Blue Cross members fully vaccinated throughout the duration of the study, compared to 77 percent nationally.  This demonstrates room for improvement to ensure children in the Michigan receive all recommended vaccines.  Without vaccinations, more kids are exposed to health issues such as whooping cough and measles, which have experienced increased outbreaks due to children not receiving those specific vaccines.

For children who are not fully vaccinated, missed well-child visits were the largest contributing factor nationally, accounting for 62 percent of under-vaccinated cases for children born in 2013.  Preventive care, well-child visits are not only an opportunity to obtain recommended vaccinations, but a time for parents and doctors to make sure children are healthy and reaching expected milestones.

For more information on the Childhood Vaccination Trends in America Health of America report, visit www.bcbs.com/healthofamerica.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.5 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.