Maryland is well ahead of most of the states in the nation in terms of vaccinating its residents, according to a recent study.
The WalletHub study was published on Monday. It said that Maryland is the sixth most vaccinated state in the nation. Massachusetts was ranked the most vaccinated state and Mississippi was ranked the least vaccinated state.
Moreover, Maryland ranked fourth in terms of vaccinating children against the flu and fifth in terms of vaccinating teenagers against the HPV.
WalletHub based its findings on three criteria: “children & teenagers immunization rates, adult & elderly vaccination rates, and immunization uptake disparities & influencing factors.” The criteria were assessed across 17 metrics. Each metric was ranked on a scale of 0-100. WalletHub used data compiled by U.S. government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Census Bureau, and the Health Resources and Services Administration.
So, why is Maryland outperforming the overwhelming majority of states in vaccinations?
“These rankings track the rankings of a study that came out recently where Maryland had the fifth best health care system in the country and Massachusetts had the best. And I do not think it is a coincidence that these are also the states that have the best vaccination rates,” Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative President Vincent DeMarco told MarylandReporter.com.
DeMarco added: “When people have health care coverage they are much more likely to get the vaccinations they need and to stay healthy. The study is a further support for what we have been saying all along, which is the best way for Maryland to be healthy is for everyone to have access to quality affordable health care.”
Del. Brian Chisholm, R-Anne Arundel, who sits on the Health and Government Operations Committee, said Maryland’s high ranking in the study is not a surprise given that the state is home to several world renown medical institutions.
“We have such a strong medical community in this area from Hopkins to the University of Maryland Medical System…The state is well-educated. You have strong family units…We are pretty much a well-informed community. But I think that COVID changes that a little bit. I think that the more data that is coming out with COVID, the more people are starting to question the current vaccines.”
Sen. Cory McCray, D-Baltimore City, said that while Maryland’s high ranking in the study is not really a surprise, much of the credit can be attributed to work the state’s lawmakers have done to “build trust” in “undeserved communities.”
McCray said that in many communities, particularly minority communities,
“people are apprehensive” about the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines “for a reason.”
McCray said the best way to combat those fears is through “public safety” and “education” campaigns.
Richard Vatz, a professor of political persuasion at Towson University, said the study’s findings are probably accurate but that the study itself falls short of the criteria necessary for it to be considered empirical in nature.
“The general assessment of vaccine-friendly locations and people are probably generally correct, but as they yield specific conclusions, those findings are not disconfirmable. The validity of any study is directly measurable by the authors’ ability to disconfirm the findings. WalletHub is amalgamating a variety of measures-Children & Teenagers Immunization Rates, Adult & Elderly Vaccination Rates and Immunization Uptake Disparities & Influencing-and includes 17 metrics with their own corresponding rates with one another to come to conclusions whose validity is clearly suspect. The rankings come from different sources which have different methodologies, and thus they lose their value but provide pundits with the ability to shout: ‘Aha! Massachusetts must know what they’re doing while Mississippi is a hick state that is destroying their people.'”