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angle-left Adolescent vaccination rates in Rochester and Syracuse are among highest in the nation

Adolescent vaccination rates in Rochester and Syracuse are among highest in the nation

For Immediate Release:  2018-02-13

Contact:  Jim Redmond, (585) 238-4579

Adolescent vaccination rates in Rochester and Syracuse are the highest in the state and among the highest in the nation, according to a new study of medical claims by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA).

The study examined U.S. claims for 1.3 million children, born in 2000-2003 and commercially insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. The focus of the study was on three vaccines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend for adolescents by their 13th birthday:

  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccination rates
    In Rochester, 95.6 percent of all adolescents receive the Tdap vaccine, with Syracuse at 93.1 percent, compared to 87.8 percent statewide and 81.7 percent nationwide.   
  • Meningococcal vaccination rates
    In Rochester, 90.5 percent of all adolescents receive the meningococcal vaccine, with Syracuse at 83.9 percent, compared to 73.9 percent statewide and 72.1 percent nationwide.
  • Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination rates
    In Rochester, 46.1 percent of all adolescents receive the first of three doses of the HPV vaccine, with Syracuse at 43.4 percent, compared to 27.0 percent statewide and 28.7 percent nationwide. The recommended three doses are administered to 18.5 percent of adolescents in Rochester and 14.8 percent in Syracuse, compared to 5.7 percent statewide and 7.3 percent nationwide.

“Physicians in our communities are doing a great job when it comes to administering vaccines to adolescents,” said Martin Lustick, M.D., Excellus BlueCross BlueShield senior vice president and chief medical officer.

But, despite having HPV vaccination rates that nearly double the state and national rates, Lustick says there is a need for continued education regarding the HPV vaccine. “It’s disappointing to see HPV vaccination rates so low, especially in this area, since the vaccine was developed, in part, by researchers at the University of Rochester”, said Lustick. According to Lustick, “The clinical evidence is clear that the HPV vaccine can reduce the risk of infections that cause several types of cancer in both men and women. Most side effects of the vaccine are mild, and are far outweighed by the benefit of preventing cancer.”

According to the CDC, HPV infections are so common that nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives. Sometimes, HPV infections can cause certain cancers and other diseases. Every year in the United States, HPV causes 30,700 cancers in men and women.

The Finger Lakes and Central New York regions have the lowest uninsured rate in modern times, which may also explain why they have among the best records on vaccinations in the state and nation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the 2016 uninsured rate in the regions were less than 4 percent; half the national rate of 8.6 percent.

For more information on this study from The Health of America Report series, visit “Adolescent Vaccination Trends in America”.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company's mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit