Thousands of Schools Failing Adequate Vaccination Rates


Is your child vaccinated against measles? If not, your child is very vulnerable. Thousands of schools have failed to achieve recommended vaccination rates therefore failing to develop “herd immunity” for those who can’t or refuse to be vaccinated.

Brianna Abbott, Taylor Umlauf and Dylan Moriarty write in The Wall Street Journal of the astounding failure of thousands of schools to achieve expected vaccination rates, despite recent widely publicized recent measles outbreaks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 95% or better vaccination rates for all schools but thousands have failed to meet these standards.

While the majority of schools have relatively high measles-mumps-rubella vaccination rates of 90% or above, many schools have rates in the 70% to 80% range, and some small, private schools have rates hovering around 50%. “If you have children clustered together that are unvaccinated, that’s why measles outbreaks are happening,” said Carla Black, an epidemiologist in the Immunization Services Division at the CDC who tracks kindergarten immunization rates. “The real usefulness of the data is to look at your local coverage.” 

TheWSJ obtained data from 48,246 schools in 32 states out of 132,734 total U.S. schools, both public and private. Of the 30,615 schools with MMR-specific data, nearly 30%of schools had an immunization rate less than 95%. For the 31,422 schools with overall immunization data available, roughly 44% of schools fell below the 95% threshold, though those numbers do not directly correlate to MMR vaccination status because the students may be missing a different vaccine.

For the states with MMR-specific school data, 85.3% of schools had an MMR immunization rate of 90% or above. Roughly 1,800 schools, or 6.0%, fell below an 80% vaccination rate. For states with overall immunization data, 77.8% of schools had an immunization rate of 90% or better, and roughly 2,700 schools were below the 80% rate. In other words, any child in those 2,700 schools is at great risk of contracting one or more of these diseases if not immunized.

This is a serious situation. There have been 1,200 confirmed measles cases across 31 states, making 2019 the worst year on record for measles in the U.S. in 25 years.

Measles is not an innocuous disease. Before 1963, when the measles vaccine became available in the U. S., there were more than 500,000 reported measles cases every year, according to the CDC. On average, 432 cases a year resulted in death. By the year 2000 the number of cases had dwindled to 86 and the number of deaths zero. But approximately one child will die in every 1,000 infected so it is not a disease to be taken lightly.

Below is a map depicting the vaccination rates by county according to the data available. If you would like to know the vaccination rate for your child’s school, you can click on the following link school vaccination rates to connect to an interactive site.

Vaccinations for your child are important. Don’t delay. Your child’s health is at risk!


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