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Report finds most vaccination rates high in U.S.

National goals for vaccination rates are largely being met, although differences exist between states and individual vaccines.

By Stephen Feller
Vaccine rates across the United States are largely meeting goals, though small pockets of non-vaccinated children pose a threat for outbreak. Photo by EsHanPhot/Shutterstock
Vaccine rates across the United States are largely meeting goals, though small pockets of non-vaccinated children pose a threat for outbreak. Photo by EsHanPhot/Shutterstock

ATLANTA, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Most infants and kindergartners in the United States are up to date on their vaccinations, however there are small pockets of concern where disease can still spread, according to two new reports from the Centers for Disease Control.

Despite less than 1 percent of children not receiving vaccinations, CDC researchers found that vaccination rates can vary by state and by individual inoculation. In addition, the small pockets of less-vaccinated children can cause outbreaks, as was found with the measles outbreak in 2014 that started at Disneyland.

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"For some vaccines and population subgroups, improvement in coverage is necessary to achieve optimal protection," researchers wrote in the report on general vaccination rates. "For all vaccines, maintaining high coverage is critical to sustain progress in reducing the impact of vaccine-preventable diseases."

Goals of a 90 percent or more vaccination rate were met in 2014 for measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, along with polio, hepatitis B and chicken pox. Vaccinations that did not meet the goal, most of which are multiple-shot vaccines, included diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B (birth dose), rotavirus and the combined vaccine series.

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Researchers said vaccination rates varied from state to state and vaccination to vaccination. The highest vaccination rate for MMR on the state level was 97.2 percent in Maine, which researchers found was a 6.2 percent increase over 2013, while the lowest was in Arizona at 84.1 percent. For vaccines that require multiple doses, rates also varied, such as the hepatitis A vaccine which had an inoculation rate of 69 percent in Connecticut, but just a 32.7 percent rate in Wyoming.

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In the report on vaccination rates among kindergarten children, researchers found that most children in school had been vaccinated -- just 1.7 percent of students nationally were found to have some type of non-medical exemption, although those rates varied from a low 0.5 percent in Washington, D.C., to 6.2 percent in Idaho.

The authors of both studies noted limitations of landline and cellphone surveys, as well as differing state requirements and variations in how parents obtain waivers from schools, whose requirements differ from county to county as well as state to state.

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