WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – It’s not a secret that West Virginia often falls behind in many health categories. Whether it be obesity or opioids, there’s no doubt the state struggles.

But there Is one category that our state does better than most in. In fact—we come in as runner up according to a study conducted by healthtestingcenters.com.

Take a look.

Time and time again we see charts that West Virginia comes in last on, but not this time.

Vaccination rates in West Virginia are immensely higher than in most states.

Around 98 percent of West Virginians are vaccinated for polio, measles, mumps, and rubella.

Falling just one point behind Mississippi for the number of Kindergarteners vaccinated in 2018.

Vaccinations are one of the few things we do really well here in West Virginia. Every year there’s always efforts in the legislature to back off on our really good vaccination laws, but fortunately we have a slot of advocates down there that work in the other direction to keep things as good as they are. And actually, if you look at other states, most other states are trying to imitate what we’re doing here because we’re actually doing very well.

CLAIRE PAXTON – PHYSICIAN, WHEELING HOSPITAL

We also have the second-biggest increase in kindergartener vaccinations at 7.7 percent over the past decade.

This is largely because by law kids in the mountain state must be vaccinated before attending public school.

So, why is it so important that we keep this upward trend going?

It’s definitely very important to keep our vaccination rates high. It depends on which illness you’re talking about, but something like measles that’s super virulent, and one person can easily affect like 10-15 other people, you just need your vaccination rates to drop by even a couple percent and you can have outbreaks.

CLAIRE PAXTON – PHYSICIAN, WHEELING HOSPITAL

Paxton also says that implementing laws that would enforce flu and HPV vaccines would be very beneficial to the state.

But many continue to believe vaccinations can cause other ailments to a child.

Vaccines, just like anything, it’s not 100% safe. Nothing is. Even the Tylenol you give your child isn’t 100% safe. Everything has risks. The idea is that the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. So, that’s why it’s so important.

CLAIRE PAXTON – PHYSICIAN, WHEELING HOSPITAL

Paxton says vaccination rates in our states may not mirror our rates, but they’re high enough in most places to not pose any major issues.

And with the Flu being widespread in all of our neighboring states, she urges its not too late to get your flu shot.