Thursday, June 2, 2016

Kentucky School Vaccination Rates (2015)

Let's talk about vaccines. First off, I'm NOT going to have a debate about how effective or dangerous vaccines are. They're both effective AND safe. I've crunched the numbers for the amount of things like mercury (Thimerosal actually) contained in vaccines and basically if you've eaten fish in the last year or two you've consumed more actual mercury than in all your childhood vaccines combined.

OK, now that we're done with that... let's talk about vaccination rates! Contrary to popular belief MOST of the world is vaccinated!
Rates of measles vaccination worldwide
Turns out that even in super-rural and third-world countries people will travel great distances to get their children vaccinated.

I stumbled across the Student Health Data provided by the Kentucky Department of Education and thought, "Man, I wonder how many kids in this state go unvaccinated?" For those with other questions such as what the average BMI of school kids of different grades in different counties are etc.

Turns out more kids are vaccinated than I expected when I started crunching through the data! Good job Bluegrass! To let you know how these numbers were calculated I used the enrollment number of each school and just did a little division with the other variables represented. No fancy-dancy math needed here! To be clear the data comes from the 2015 school year.

The classification for the numbers you're going to see here may need a little defining.

  • "Grade"
    • 0 = 5-6 years old 'Preschool' (pre-1st Grade)
    • 6 = 12-13 years old 'Middle School' age
  • Vaccinated Definitions
    • 'Vaccinated' = Fully Vaccinated and Up-To-Date on Boosters
    • 'Non-Vaccinated Missing' = No Vaccines and No Boosters
    • 'Non-Vaccinated Expired' = Previously Vaccinated but did not receive booster shots
    • 'Non-Vaccinated Religious' = Vaccinations not applied for "religious reasons"
    • 'Non-Vaccinated Medical' = Vaccinations should not be applied to these individuals likely because of immuno-compromising diseases or treatments (such as AIDs or chemotherapy)
    • 'Non-Vaccinated Provisional' = Vaccines may not be completely up-to-date and/or may be being delivered at a staggered rate for medical reasons but are planning to be delivered on a particular schedule.
  • "In/Out of Independent School"
    • In = Independent/Private School System
    • Out = Public School System
  • "District"
    • For most senses this is represented as the county in which the school resides but excludes Independent School systems

Let's jump right in to the data!

For those of you who would prefer a sort-able list to see where your county falls in the scheme of things you can also use the following Tableau Story to click through... also feel free to click around and sort any of these fields you would like to!

I know there's not a ton of interactivity on these Viz's nor a lot of differentiation but I wanted to just share that the percentage of immunizations in KY was surprising to me. The big thing is that there are preventable things happening in regards to immunizations in children which could easily be preventable. The prime thing is keeping children current on vaccines.

The trend in the data from my perspective is that In almost every other category

To summarize here are a few things I found interesting:

  • The majority of KY children who are susceptible to these types of infections are ones who have not received booster shots so they fall into the "Expired" vaccine category
    • The largest change in any group is in the "Expired" group
    • The increase in students from grades 0-6 is about 4.869% in lack of updated booster shots
  • In virtually EVERY other category (save Provisional which increases by 0.010%) all other reasons for non-vaccination go down rather drastically between grades 0-6
  • Looking at the difference between Independent (private) and Public schools I saw very little difference on most issues and didn't feel it was relevant to look at it with this differentiation included. A few things worth noting:
    • Independent schools do start with a higher average of students with religious and provisional exceptions
    • By grade 6 stay Independents retain almost exactly the same % of vaccinated students
      • Expired %s go way up (3x approximately)
      • Missing and Religious %s go down
  • The data in some places is missing a fairly large number of students
  • Bell and Bath Counties all are VERY low as far as full vaccination rates (this could be because of missing data, which we have to count as a loss)
  • Breathitt County has 15.8% of their students non-vaccinated due to legitimate medical reasons

Places like Breathitt County are the reason that the idea of herd immunity is very important! Unfortunately the rest of their stats aren't looking very good either, the big problem is the total number of enrollment there is very low so the likelihood that those immuno-compromised students will interact with non-vaccinated students is very high. Finally I just wanted to share out with you this little gif explaining why herd immunity is important in protecting people:

As always for comments or questions comment below or hit me up at @wjking0 on Twitter!

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