Campus News

Voting, vaccine patterns

Parental politics could play a role in whether teens get recommended vaccinations, according to a U.S. study.

In 2012, Democratic-voting “blue states” had a median of 63 percent coverage for girls and 47 percent coverage for boys for the HPV shot, compared to 56 percent of girls and 34 percent of boys in Republican-voting “red states.” For the Tdap shot, blue states had a median of 90 percent vaccine coverage for teens, compared to 85 percent in red states. And the American Journal of Public Health reported that for the MCV4 shot, almost 80 percent of teens in half of blue states had been vaccinated compared to 73 percent in red states.

“Remember that Democratic-leaning states tend to be on the coasts and by and large have higher incomes,” W. David Bradford, the Busbee Professor of Public Policy at UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs, told the Reuters news service. “The surprising part is that the authors actually control for many of the things that one would first think of as explaining differences in healthy behaviors (median income, education levels and insurance, for example) and yet even then the impact of political preferences still mattered.”