Childhood Vaccination Rates Climb in Iowa

(DES MOINES, IA) — Childhood vaccination rates in Iowa are above the national average, according to a new study by the Blue Cross® Blue Shield® Association (BCBSA). A total of more than 74 percent of Iowa children were up-to-date on their CDC-recommended vaccinations, compared to 73.5 percent nationally. Data also shows 70.6 percent of young Wellmark members born in 2010 were fully vaccinated by the age of 2 years and 3 months compared to 78.7 percent of children born in 2013. This is also above the national average of 69 percent and 77 percent, respectively.

“Vaccination is one of the best ways parents can protect infants, children and teens from harmful diseases,” said Dr. Tim Gutshall, Wellmark’s chief medical officer. “Recommendations for which vaccinations are needed and when, can change over time. That’s why it’s important to schedule an annual well-child visit with your family doctor to stay up-to-date on vaccinations and discuss any additional health concerns.”

Missed well-child visits were the largest reason, nationally, for under vaccination, accounting for 62 percent of under-vaccinated cases for children born in 2013. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 10 visits to the pediatrician by age two.

The study also found in Iowa, 1.1 percent of medical claims analyzed were coded with a parental vaccination refusal from 2010 through 2016, compared to 3.3 percent nationally. Refusal rates climbed nationally from 2.5 percent for children born in 2010 to 4.2 percent for children born in 2013.

This is the 17th study of the Blue Cross Blue Shield: The Health of America Report® series, a collaboration between BCBSA and Blue Health Intelligence®, which uses a market-leading claims database to uncover key trends and insights into health care affordability and access to care. Analysis was performed by and also includes medical claims data from HealthCore®, a wholly owned and independently operated subsidiary of Anthem, Inc.

For more information, visit


Stay updated, sign up for our newsletter.