Kindergartner Vaccination Rates Look Good

Vaccination coverage for US kindergartners close to 95 percent for required vaccines

(RxWiki News) It is recommended that parents protect their children from disease by making sure the kids are up to date on their immunizations. High numbers of American parents are following this medical advice.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on vaccination coverage rates among kindergartners for the 2012-2013 school year.

The rates focus specifically on three vaccines required by most states. These include the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine and the chickenpox vaccine.

Colorado reported the lowest vaccination coverage rates for kindergartners this school year. Mississippi had the highest rates at nearly 100 percent.

"Follow the CDC's recommended immunization schedule."

This report, authored by Ranee Seither, MPH, and other CDC colleagues, included information on vaccination rates from 48 states and Washington, DC. Exemption rates came from 49 states and Washington, DC.

About 94.5 percent of US kindergartners had received two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine for the 2012-2013 school year.

In addition, 95.1 percent were up to date for the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine (DTaP), and 93.8 percent had received two doses of the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine in states that require it.

Although school vaccination requirements vary by state, all states require two doses of the MMR.

For the DTaP, all states require either three, four or five doses of the DTaP, depending on the state.

For the chickenpox vaccine, 13 states require one dose, 41 states require two doses and three states do not require this vaccine.

An average of 1.8 percent of kindergartners across the US had immunization exemptions. Among approximately 4.2 million kindergartners, about 91,500 received exemptions.

An exemption means the child's parents had sought not to vaccinate their child and received an exemption that allowed their child to attend school without the recommended vaccinations.

Exemption rules vary by states. All states have medical exemptions for children who cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition. All but two states (Mississippi and West Virginia) have religious, philosophical and/or "conscience" exemptions.

"Although school entry coverage for most [states] was at or near national Healthy People 2020 targets of maintaining 95 percent vaccination coverage levels for two doses of MMR vaccine, four doses of DTaP vaccine and two doses of varicella vaccine, low vaccination and high exemption levels can cluster within communities, increasing the risk for disease," the CDC reported.

For all three vaccines, Colorado reported the lowest rates and Mississippi reported the highest rates.

In Colorado, 85.7 percent of kindergartners had received two doses of the MMR, compared to 99.9 percent in Mississippi. Twenty states reported at least 95 percent coverage.

For the DTaP, Colorado reported 82.9 percent coverage, Mississippi reported 99.9 percent coverage and 25 states reported at least 95 percent coverage.

Among the 36 states that require two doses of the chickenpox vaccine, 14 reported at least 95 percent coverage. Colorado reported 84.6 percent and Mississippi reported 99.9 percent.

This report was published August 1 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report of the CDC.

Review Date: 
August 1, 2013
Last Updated:
August 4, 2013