CDC Data Identifies Drops in U.S. Kindergarten Vaccination Rates

On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data in its latest edition of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) indicating vaccination coverage for kindergarteners dropped by one percentage point across the country in the 2020-21 school year for three state-required vaccines (MMR, DTaP, and chicken pox) for public and private schools. The overall percentage of children with an exemption remained low at 2.2 percent.

According to the data, states described multiple reasons for the drop in vaccination rates, all related to the COVID-19 pandemic such as reduced access to well-child appointments, easing of vaccination requirements for remote learners, and less time for school nurses to follow-up with students and families. The CDC advised that vaccination coverage could be improved by increased outreach to schools and immunization programs to first-time students, including kindergarteners and first graders, and by follow-up with under-vaccinated students and families.

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