Maine's High Vaccination Rate Applauded, but Experts say Job Not Done

Aug 28, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine - New data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Maine's rate of vaccination for kids between 19 and 35 months was the highest in the nation in 2014.

According to the new numbers, almost 85 percent of those Maine toddlers got vaccinated last year - that's an increase of nearly 17 percent over 2013. The national average is 71.6 percent.

State officials and others are saying the numbers are a reason for celebration.  And given Maine's well-known policy of allowing parents to opt their kids out of vaccines on philosophical grounds, some are saying it's something of a surprise. The state's opt-out rate has dropped in the last couple of years, but it's still higher than the national average.

The new data would seem to indicate that the tide may be turning against anti-vaccine sentiment. But it's a complicated picture. Maine Things Considered host Nora Flaherty gets the details from Dr. Lawrence Losey, a Brunswick pediatrician and a member of the state's Immunization Task Force.