As children head back to school, it’s important to make sure that their immunizations are up to date as part of their “back to school checklist.” Although sometimes overlooked, immunizations play a critical role in helping prevent diseases that pose serious threats to a child’s health. These diseases include measles, mumps, whooping cough, and the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the vaccination of children born between 1994 and 2018 in the U.S. will prevent 419 million illnesses and help avoid 936,000 deaths.
As a source of reliable health coverage for millions of children, Medicaid plays a leading role in covering these vaccines. Here are 10 facts you need to know about the importance of vaccines and the role Medicaid plays in immunization.
- More than 45 million children currently receive reliable coverage through Medicaid and CHIP.
- Medicaid covers all recommended vaccines for children.
- Most childhood vaccines are 90% to 99% effective in preventing disease.
- Immunization prevents more than 2.5 million deaths a year.
- Immunization rates for Medicaid-covered children are higher than for children without health insurance.
- Medicaid-covered newborns are immunized against hepatitis B at higher rates than newborns covered by private insurance.
- Vaccinating children born between 1994 and 2018 will save nearly $1.9 trillion in total societal costs, including $406 billion in direct costs.
- Immunization causes immunity within communities, which helps prevent outbreaks and even protects unvaccinated children as the majority of children in the community are vaccinated.
- Many state Medicaid programs do not charge pregnant women copayments for vaccinations, in order to remove financial barriers to immunization.
- Combination vaccines allow children to get protection from many different diseases with just one shot.