Monday, October 5, 2015

DC child vaccination rates lag behind national average, Healthy People 2020 goals

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 90% of kindergarten-age children in the District of Columbia in school year 2014-2015 were fully immunized with about 1% of the children not immunized because of an exemption.   This is less than the national average of 94% and the federal Healthy People 2020 goal of 95%.

CDC: Kindergarten Vax Rate High, But Not High Enough is the readable report of the findings published August 28, 2015 in Vaccination Coverage Among Children in Kindergarten — United States, 2014–15 School Year.

Why are full immunizations so important?   The CDC explains:

School vaccination regulations provide an opportunity for children who are behind on vaccination in infancy to be vaccinated by school entry. For example, the kindergartners covered in this report were born during 2009–2011. Despite differences in methodologies, when this cohort of children was included in the National Immunization Survey of children aged 19–35 months, their coverage with ≥1 MMR dose was 90.8%, compared with a median of 94.0% who had received ≥2 doses in this assessment during the school 2014–15 school year (9). Appropriate school vaccination coverage assessments at the state and local levels for all kindergartners will be critical to aid in identification of communities at risk for vaccine-preventable disease transmission, where further action could improve vaccination coverage to ensure that more children are able to benefit from the protection offered by vaccines.

Beyond this, there are the fundamental principals associated with population vaccines.   The World Health Organization argues that vaccines help mitigate the severity of disease and protect the unvaccinated population and immune-compromised population.

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