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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
September 25, 2013

High Immunization Rates Don’t Mean Schools Are Risk-Free

JAMA. 2013;310(12):1219. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.277383

Kindergarteners started the school year in 2012 with high vaccination rates against childhood infectious diseases. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautions that high numbers of immunization exemptions for religious or other reasons in a particular school or community could allow new cases of vaccine-preventable diseases to spread.

Data from 48 states and the District of Columbia show that the median vaccination rate was 94.5% for 2 doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine; 95.1% for local requirements for diphtheria, tetanus toxoid, and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccination; and 93.8% for 2 doses of varicella vaccine in jurisdictions with a 2-dose requirement. For all 3 immunizations, Colorado had the lowest coverage rates and Mississippi had the highest. In most jurisdictions, school entry vaccination coverage was at or near the 95% national target level set in Healthy People 2020.