Childhood vaccination rates fall for 2nd year

Routine childhood vaccinations fell nationwide during the 2021-22 school year and sat below target levels for the second consecutive year, the CDC reported Jan. 12.

In the 2021-22 school year, about 93 percent of kindergartners had received all state-required vaccines for preventable diseases such as measles and whooping cough. This figure has decreased by one percentage point annually since the 2019-20 school year, when coverage sat at 95 percent — the CDC's target rate.

"While this might not sound significant, it means nearly 250,000 kindergarteners are potentially not protected against measles alone," Georgina Peacock, MD, director of the CDC's Immunization Services Division, told The Hill.

Overall, the percentage of children with a vaccine exemption was 2.6 percent. Another 3.6 percent of children were not fully vaccinated and did not have an exemption. This figure increased in most states compared to 2020-21. 

Many health experts have warned that increased vaccine hesitancy among the public could cause a resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases. Late last year, a measles outbreak in Ohio infected at least 59 children, most of whom were unvaccinated. 

View the CDC's full report here.

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