CDC: Majority of School-Aged Children Received Vaccinations
More than nine out of 10 U.S. children starting kindergarten last year were immunized against preventable diseases, according to new CDC study, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report reports (Thompson, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 8/27).
All states have laws that require public school students to be vaccinated against certain diseases, though they also allow exemptions from the rules for medical reasons. In all states but Mississippi and West Virginia, parents can opt their children out of vaccines for religious reasons (Steenhuysen, Reuters, 8/27).
By July 2016, California and Vermont will no longer permit personal belief exemptions (Howell, Washington Times, 8/27).
Although the majority of children were vaccinated in 2014, the report found several states had "pockets" of unvaccinated children.
According to the report, 49 states and Washington, D.C., met the reporting requirements for vaccination rates.
Meanwhile, 45 states and Washington, D.C., reported data on exemption rates.
Overall Rates High
According to CDC, the average vaccination rate among new kindergarten students in 2014 was:
- 94% for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine; and
- 94% for the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine.
In addition, about 94% of kindergarteners received the two-dose chickenpox vaccine in the 39 states where it is required.
Seven states had measles, mumps and rubella vaccination rates under 90% (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 8/27).
Meanwhile, the data also showed that just 1.7% of parents in 2014 sought exemptions from state vaccination requirements (Reuters, 8/27). Exemption rates ranged from 0.1% in Mississippi to 6.5% in Idaho.
Overall, fewer than 1% of children did not receive any vaccinations, the Washington Times reports (Washington Times, 8/27).
Anne Schuchat, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said, "Pockets of children who miss vaccination exist in our communities, and they leave these communities vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases" (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 8/27).
CDC Encourages States To Publish Vaccination Data
In related news, CDC has been encouraging more states to make their vaccination rate data publicly available online, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
According to the AP/Bee, 21 states last school year had posted their vaccination rates for:
- Counties or areas of the state;
- Individual schools; and
- School districts.
Schuchat during a press conference on Tuesday made CDC's efforts public, noting, "It's important to recognize when vulnerabilities exist in communities (AP/Sacramento Bee, 8/27).
Schuchat also noted that the number of states publishing vaccination data had increased from 18 to 21 between 2013 and 2014. She said, "I'd like to encourage parents who live in these states to find out what's going on around them" (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 8/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.