From the Journals

Vaccination rates up in U.S. kindergartners in 2015, steady in 19- to 35-month-olds


Vaccination coverage for MMR and DTaP increased for children in kindergarten during the 2015-2016 school year, but remained steady for children aged 19-35 months in 2015, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The median MMR vaccination rate for kindergartners in 2015 was 94.6%, up significantly from 92.6% in 2014. DTaP coverage also increased, rising from 92.4% to 94.2%. A total of 32 states saw an increase in MMR coverage in 2015, with 22 states reporting greater than 95% coverage. Only 3 states and the District of Columbia reported less than 90% coverage, down from 7 states and D.C. in 2014.

CDC News
“The increase in MMR coverage observed among 32 states during the 2015-16 school year might be attributable in part to the 2015 measles outbreaks, which included a reported total of 159 persons from 18 states and D.C., of whom approximately 80% were unvaccinated or had unknown vaccination status,” Ranee Seither and fellow CDC investigators commented (MMWR. 2016 Oct 6. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6539a3).

While the median vaccination rates were increased in 2015, the median exemption rate also increased by nearly 11% to 1.9% overall. This was caused in part by the addition of reports from Texas and Wyoming, neither of which reported the number of exemptions in 2014, the CDC investigators remarked.

In a second CDC report from Dr. Holly Hill and her associates based on data collected from the National Immunization Survey, the vaccination rate for children aged 19-35 months in 2015 did not increase significantly from the previous year (MMWR. 2016 Oct 6. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm639a4). The rate of children who received four or more doses of DTaP and at least one dose of MMR increased by 0.4 percentage points each from 84.2% to 84.6% and from 91.5% to 91.9%, respectively. The largest increase was seen in hepatitis A vaccine, where the rate of vaccination increased from 57.5% to 59.6%.

Healthy People 2020 goals for greater than 90% coverage for children aged 19-35 months were met for four vaccines in 2015: three or more doses of poliovirus vaccine, one or more doses of MMR, three or more doses of hepatitis B vaccine, and one or more doses of varicella vaccine. Vaccine coverage was lower in almost all cases for children living below the poverty level. The largest discrepancies were seen in rotavirus and varicella vaccines. The combined seven-vaccine series rate for children at or above the poverty line was 74.7%, and was 68.7% for children below the poverty line.

“Continued surveillance is needed to monitor coverage, locate pockets of susceptibility, and evaluate the impact of interventions designed to ensure that all children remain adequately protected against vaccine-preventable diseases,” Dr. Hill and her associates noted.

The CDC investigators had no relevant financial disclosures to report.

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