HealthDay News — More than nine out of 10 U.S. children entered kindergarten last school year protected with the proper immunizations, federal health officials reported Thursday. But, vaccination rates continue to lag in a number of states. The report was published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Average vaccination coverage for new kindergarteners was 94% for the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine. It also was 94% for the diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis vaccine in the 49 reporting states and the District of Columbia for the 2014-15 school year, CDC researchers found.
About 94% of kindergarteners also received the two-dose vaccine for varicella in the 39 states where it is required. Seven states had less than 90% coverage for the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine. Those states are Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, North Dakota, and Washington.
The percentage of children who don’t receive vaccinations remains low, at less than 1%. The percentage of parents requesting vaccination exemptions for their children also is low, amounting to an average 1.7% of kindergarteners nationwide, the CDC reported.
But, a handful of states had vaccination exemption rates that exceeded the national average. The highest exemption rates were found in Idaho (6.5%), Vermont (6.1%), Oregon (6%), Alaska (5.8%), and Michigan (5.3%). Additionally, five states did not meet the reporting standards for providing exemption data. They are Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, and Wyoming, the CDC said.
In one important change from 2013 to 2014, the number of states that provided local coverage and exemption data online increased from 18 to 21. Making this information available publicly keeps parents informed, guides vaccination policies, and strengthens immunization programs, CDC officials said.