Most Kindergartners Getting Recommended Vaccines, but Still Room for Improvement — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
October 13, 2017

Most Kindergartners Getting Recommended Vaccines, but Still Room for Improvement

By Kelly Young

Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH, and William E. Chavey, MD, MS

Vaccination coverage of U.S. kindergartners is holding relatively high, according to a study in MMWR.

During the 2016–17 school year, 94–95% of kindergartners received the state-required number of doses of diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine (usually, 5 doses); the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (2 doses); and the varicella vaccine (usually, 2 doses). Four states — California, New York, North Dakota, and Tennessee — saw their coverage rates increase by at least 1.5 percentage points over the past year, perhaps due to state efforts to address undervaccination.

The percentage of kindergartners who had at least one recorded vaccine exemption held steady at 2%. But nine states had an exemption rate of 4% or higher: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The authors conclude: "Median vaccination coverage was consistently high and median exemption rates were consistently low. However, clusters of low vaccination coverage continue to serve as opportunities for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases."

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