About two-thirds of children under 18 in New Hampshire were vaccinated against the flu last year, one of the highest rates in the country, but overall the nation seems to be backsliding on having children and teens get their flu shot.

The Centers for Disease Control says 66.3% of kids in New Hampshire got vaccinations in 2017-2018, the sixth-highest rate in the country and well above the national average of 57.9%. (Report is here) New Hampshire provides free vaccinations to anybody under age 18. New England in general does well in this category: The three states with the highest percentage of childrens’ flu vaccinations are Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The data is based on telephone surveys and has limits, but the CDC says it appears that child vaccination rates declined last year.

Survey data indicated a slight decrease in coverage compared to the 2016-17 season; the observed decrease may reflect true lower coverage or may be due to limitations of this telephone survey described below. Annual flu vaccination remains an effective way to prevent flu illness. During the 2017-18 flu season, 180 lab-confirmed pediatric deaths were reported; for children eligible for vaccination and for whom vaccination status is known, 74% were not vaccinated. Common reasons parents give for not having their child receive a flu vaccination include: the child is unlikely to get the flu or get very sick from the flu, the child is not in a high risk group, and concern about side effects from the vaccine.


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