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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Idaho’s child immunization rate has jumped 10 percent in past year

Idaho's child immunization rate has gone up by 10 percent since last year, when it was the worst in the nation. State public health division Administrator Jane Smith said three pieces of legislation that lawmakers enacted last year helped: A new mechanism for funding vaccines, in which insurance companies pay into an assessment fund, where the money is pooled to allow the state to purchase the vaccines at a lower price; changing the state's immunization registry from an "opt-in" to "opt-out" for parents; and the creation of a Child Immunization Policy Commission to offer advice on policies and potential legislation aimed at improving immunization rates of children.

"It is these actions, as well as a strong state immunization plan, a dedicated public health system, an engaged immunization coalition and committed physicians and others that have brought our immunization rate from the lowest in the nation to our current more respectable level," Smith told legislative budget writers; Idaho now ranks 32nd among the states.

Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, vice chair of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee, told Smith, "I appreciate what you've done in the last year. It's great strides in the right direction."

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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