CDC: Kindergarten vaccination rates drop in the United States

Immunization of children dropped dramatically at the start of the pandemic as families stayed home and were slow to catch up. Over the past two years, the CDC has seen a drop of more than 10% from pre-pandemic levels in state orders for childhood vaccines, the federal program through which about half of the country’s children are immunized.

The decline in the 2020-2021 school year “means there are 35,000 more children in the United States during this time without documentation of full vaccinations against common diseases,” said Georgina Peacock, acting director of the Division of Immunization Services, during a briefing on Thursday.

In addition, she noted, kindergarten enrollment during the school year fell by 10%, meaning that about 400,000 fewer children entered kindergarten than expected, who may not not be up to date on their routine vaccinations.

Many factors are influencing the slow resumption of missed childhood vaccinations during the pandemic, experts and public health practitioners say, including parents still catching up on medical visits and a spillover from Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy onto parents. attitudes towards routine vaccinations.

The political polarization of vaccines, the proliferation of misinformation about routine vaccinations, and the fact that diseases like measles and polio are so rare in the United States have all contributed to parents wondering whether they should vaccinate their children.

No major outbreaks of preventable childhood diseases have occurred since the start of the pandemic. And in the latest CDC data, exemption rates — when parents ask schools for special permission not to vaccinate their children — remain low, and the number of children whose parents had requested exemptions has fallen in most. States.

Of the 47 states and the District of Columbia that reported vaccination data, Mississippi had the highest kindergarten vaccination rate at 98.9%, and the District of Columbia the lowest at about 78%.

States reported a variety of factors they believe contributed to lower rates, including parents’ reluctance to book appointments, submitting less paperwork to schools, easing vaccination requirements for learners to distance and the lack of personnel to collect the data.


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