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Immunization is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine. Vaccines stimulate the body's own immune system to protect the person against subsequent infection or disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine vaccination to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases that occur in infants, children, adolescents, and adults.
Immunization is a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases. It is one of the most cost-effective health investments, with proven strategies that make it accessible to even the most hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations. It has clearly defined target groups and can be delivered effectively through outreach activities. Vaccines are vital to the public health goal of preventing infectious diseases. Immunization directly protects individuals who receive vaccines and herd (community) immunity prevents the spread of infection in the community by indirectly protecting:
  • Infants who are too young to be vaccinated;
  • People who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons (i.e. immunocompromised individuals);
  • People who may not adequately respond to immunization (i.e. elderly persons).
In 2012, national vaccination coverage among children aged 19-35 months was:

  • 82.5% for ≥ 4 doses of Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Acellular Pertussis (DTaP) vaccine,
  • 92.8% for ≥ 3 doses of poliovirus vaccine,
  • 90.8% for ≥ 1 dose of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine,
  • 89.7% for ≥ 3 doses of Hepatitis B (HepB) Vaccine,
  • 90.2% for ≥ 1 dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine.

Coverage with the combined vaccine series (4:3:1:3:3:1:4) (see above) was 68.4% in 2012.

In 2012, national vaccination coverage among adolescents/teens aged 13-17 years was:

  • 84.6% ≥ 1 dose of Tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine,
  • 74.0% ≥ 1 dose of meningococcal (MenACWY) vaccine,
  • 53.8% ≥ 1 dose of Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine among females,
  • 33.4% ≥ 3 doses of HPV among females,
  • 20.8% ≥ 1 dose of HPV among males.

In 2012, national vaccination coverage among adults aged 65 and over years was:

Recent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases show that even vaccinated people are at risk for disease if there is not adequate immunization coverage in the population. There is evidence of an increase in vaccine refusal in the U.S. and of geographic clustering of refusals that may result in vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks. Communities with pockets of unvaccinated and undervaccinated populations are at increased risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Several studies have shown that children who are undervaccinated are likely to have missed vaccinations because of factors related to the health care system or sociodemographic characteristics. Furthermore, children with nonmedical exemptions and exemptions from school immunization requirements are at increased risk for acquiring and transmitting vaccine-preventable diseases and can infect others who are too young to be vaccinated, cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, or are vaccinated but do not have a sufficient immunologic response.
Clinicians and other health care providers play a crucial role in parental decision making with regards to immunization. Health care providers are cited by parents as the most frequent source of information about vaccination. Furthermore, policy interventions, such as immunization requirements for school entry, have contributed to high vaccine coverage and record lows in the levels of vaccine-preventable diseases. Herd immunity has also played an important role in reducing transmission of a number of vaccine-preventable diseases, thereby benefiting the community in addition to the individual vaccinated person.

In 2011, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices released 2011 General Recommendations on Immunization . The Recommendations include vaccination guidelines for infants, children, adolescents, and adults.

The Recommendations provide information for:
  1. Timing and Spacing of Immunobiologics;
  2. Contraindications and Precautions;
  3. Preventing and Managing Adverse Reactions;
  4. Reporting Vaccine Adverse Events;
  5. the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program;
  6. Vaccine Administration.

For more information, visit:
Immunization coverage is tracked at the national and state levels primarily through two surveys:

  • National Immunization Survey (NIS), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) and National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Adolescent and Teen Health.
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services.

For more information on tracking immunization objectives, please visit the Immunization and Infectious Diseases topic at
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The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Sun, 16 January 2022 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Mon, 5 Nov 2018 17:33:27 MST