Immunization in Iowa
Vaccines are considered to be one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century and one of the most economical health interventions. Vaccines teach the immune system how to recognize and fight bacteria and viruses before an infection can happen. Vaccines provide protection without a person getting sick and suffering the complications of a disease. Some vaccines require only one dose, while others require several doses to provide complete protection. For every $1 spent on vaccines given routinely to children, the U.S. saves $10.90 in medical costs by averting costs to treat diseases. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports vaccines administered to children and infants born between 1994 and 2018 will prevent 419 million illnesses, help avoid 936,000 deaths and save nearly $1.9 trillion in total societal costs.
Achieving and maintaining high vaccination rates are two of the most important safeguards to prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases. Many diseases are now rare due to the achievement of high immunization rates. However, the absence of these diseases no longer serves as a reminder of the severity and potential life-threatening complications of vaccine preventable diseases.
Immunization rates in Iowa are consistent with or exceed national averages. While immunization rates remain high, pockets of populations not immunized leave people and their communities more susceptible to vaccine preventable diseases. Viruses and bacteria causing vaccine-preventable diseases still exist and can be passed to people who are not protected by vaccines. Health care providers are an essential stakeholder in achieving and maintaining high vaccination rates.