A Blue Cross Blue Shield Association report published today tells a promising story about improvements in the percentage of BCBSM commercially-insured children in Michigan – and nationally —who are being vaccinated, with Michigan making the largest gains in the nation. That’s a great sign for improved health. In Michigan, nearly three-fourths of BCBSM commercially-insured members born in 2013 received a recommended series of seven vaccinations by age two, up significantly from 2010, according to the latest BCBSA Health of America Report, “Childhood Vaccination Trends in America.” Even though there’s more work to be done, the results demonstrate the power of working together – with physicians and the medical community – to inform parents and the public about the life-saving benefits of vaccination. The report also identifies critical issues and opportunities, including documented vaccine refusal rates, which are on the rise nationally. The percent of infants with at least one parental vaccination refusal in Michigan is above the national average– with significant variation in rates by county. I encourage families to take the advice of their doctors on the importance of vaccinations because we know that vaccinations save children’s lives and make our communities healthier. Thanks to the analysis we have uncovered key trends to tackle a significant issue that puts our children and the greater population at a health risk. In addition to our ongoing partnerships with physicians and physician organizations to share and communicate best practices, we now have additional data to raise awareness and educate families about the importance of vaccinations. Leveraging data across the country is one of the things that sets apart the national Blue Cross system, helping us to identify health care trends locally and on a nationwide scale. Through the ongoing Health of America reports, we can work to improve the health not only of our own members, but people across the nation. As part of our social mission at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, we believe that everyone should have access to affordable, high-quality health care and that we can play a strong role in improving the health of our communities. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan plans to use this information to educate the public and media through outreach efforts that we hope will make a significant impact on our children’s health and the health of communities. Daniel J. Loepp is President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
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