A new report finds more young children are getting immunized, in New Jersey and across the country.

The Kids Count data center, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, reports 75 percent of 2-year-olds across the nation were immunized in 2015, a dramatic increase from 2009, when just 48 percent of young kids were immunized.

“Since 2011, New Jersey has increased the rate of young children who are immunized from 71 percent to 82 percent in 2015,” Ceil Zalkind, president and CEO of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, said.

Zalkind said this is very encouraging and positive news.

“Immunizations by age 2 are critical to maintaining child health. To me they’re the major preventive healthcare that young children should have,” she said.

Zalkind pointed out “having health insurance allows families to have not only the immediate care but the preventive care that immunizations are.”

She said since 2011, because of the Affordable Care Act and an expansion of New Jersey’s Family Care program, the number of uninsured children in New Jersey has dropped to under 75,000.

"That is truly great. I can remember a time, probably 10 or so years ago where it was close to half a million,” she said.

She noted not too long ago, many New Jersey children would get emergency healthcare, only in emergency rooms. he pointed out one factor that has helped to bolster the current trend is that immunizations are required for New Jersey children to attend preschool.

“In New Jersey, state-funded preschool starts at age 3, which is actually younger than some states," Zalkind  said.

She said parents must provide proof their children have been immunized, not only for preschool, but for childcare as well.

According the Kids Count data, the state with the highest rate of immunizations for 2-year-olds was Connecticut, with 84 percent, while the rate in West Virginia was 65 percent, the lowest in the nation.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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