Pockets of Unvaccinated Children Persist

A majority of U.S. kindergarteners are becoming vaccinated from diseases, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that there remain pockets of children who aren’t.

The CDC says that 1.7 percent of U.S. parents filed vaccination exemptions for their child in 2014, but the rates across the states varied, with Idaho showing the highest rate of exemptions at 6.5 percent.  The report compiled data from 45 states and the District of Columbia, and showed that overall the median exemption rate was 1 percent, but in 11 states, exemption rates were as high as 4 percent.

Why is this important? According to the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory diseases, larger groups of children left unvaccinated leave the surrounding communities, “vulnerable to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.” Higher vaccination rates contribute to so-called "herd immunity"-- where the more people are vaccinated against a disease, the more likely the whole population becomes immune to the disease. This helps protect younger children who aren’t old enough to be vaccinated from ever getting sick.

In California, the wakeup call came from a measles outbreak earlier this year at Disneyland in Anaheim, which infected almost 100 people. Since then, lawmakers in at least nine other states are cracking down on exemption policies.

Overall, rates for measles vaccinations in the U.S. are high, at 94 percent among kindergarteners. 

_This Week's Slice of History: _Taking on DDT: Aug. 29, 1962

[Sourced from: Reuters, U.S. vaccination rates high, but pockets of unvaccinated pose risk](Pockets of Unvaccinated Children Persist)