Do Socioeconomic Factors Influence Texans’ Decision to Get Vaccinated? – A cartographic Approach

Texas has one of the highest vaccination rates for childhood diseases overall, 97.4%, according to CDC. But the number of children not vaccinated because of their parents’ “personal beliefs”—as opposed to medical reasons—has risen since 2003, when such exemptions were introduced, to more than 44,000 so far in 2017 according to CDC. The 4:3:1:3:3:1:4 series is an overall measure that encompasses many vaccines that are recommended for children. Various demographic factors (sex, gender, race, availability of commercial health insurance) influence the decision to get vaccinated, were looked at.

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The county-level data on the socioeconomic factors were obtained from US Census Bureau (American Factfinder). The health insurance data was obtained from Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE). The vaccination rates were obtained from Texas Immunization registry through DSHS. The data was cleaned and geocoded to be analyzed in ArcGIS to produce maps as shown in Figure 1. Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used to analyze the relationship between vaccination rates and independent variable.

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The non-vaccination rates are higher around the major cities of Dallas, Austin-San Antonio, Houston and some northwest Texas counties. Population density has a positive correlation with the non-vaccination rate. Other demographic factors have a positive correlation in certain counties as opposed to others.

 

Source: American FactFinder, Texas Immunisation Registry

The limitation on the immunization data is it being an optional registry so it would not be accurate to run statistics off this information to estimate an immunization rate. In future, it is productive to expand this concept to use regression analysis to try to find the odds of the relationship expressed in the maps and to find if there is a significant association.

Measles in Canada?!?!

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Canada has seen an increase in the number of measles cases since the beginning of the year in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Although measles in rare in Canada, there have been outbreaks in the Philippines and Netherlands. Measles is a very contagious disease and can be very serious, commonly causing diarrhea and pneumonia, and in rarer cases encephalitis and death. It spreads easily through close contact with an infected person.

Measles can be prevented through vaccination. If you are experiencing symptoms of measles (including fever, runny nose, drowsiness, irritability, red eyes/sensitivity to light, small white spots on the inside of the mouth and throat and red blotchy rashes), visit your doctor.

For more information, visit Canada’s Public Health Agency. Check out the map here.

Juhi Mawla, Intern, gis@vertices.com