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Undervaccinated Kindergarteners

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The vast majority of US kindergarteners received a passing grade for being fully vaccinated on their first day of class last year. Even so, many kindergarteners are undervaccinated because they haven’t completed their immunization doses.

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For the 2015-2016 school year, the CDC collected school vaccination data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The data showed that median vaccination coverage was 94.6% for 2 doses of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR); 94.2% for diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP); and 94.3% for the 2-dose varicella vaccination in the 42 states that require it. Coverage with MMR vaccine increased in 32 states last year, likely due to the 2015 measles outbreak primarily among unvaccinated children in 18 states.

Exemptions from vaccination for medical, religious, or philosophical reasons increased by 0.2% to 1.9% in the 2015-2016 school year from 1.7% the previous year.

In 45 states, children without an exemption can attend school during a grace period or provisionally while they catch up on required vaccinations. For the first time, data for these children were reported in 2015-2016. Figures from 23 states with data available showed that the median percentage of kindergartners without complete vaccination documentation was 2% in those states but reached a high of 5.4% in New Hampshire.

The CDC recommends that federally funded state immunization programs use school data on undervaccinated kindergarteners to help these children get missing vaccine doses.

 read more at JAMA