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Preschooler Measles Vaccination Rate Below 90 Percent in 17 States

Wednesday, 04 Feb 2015 12:15 PM

Seventeen U.S. states, almost half of them in the South, have rates of less than 90 percent of preschoolers receiving the recommended measles, mumps and rubella vaccination, according to a nonprofit group’s study.

No state in the Northeast was below 90 percent, while eight in the South, five in the West and four in the Midwest were, according to data compiled from the 2013 National Immunization Survey by Trust for America’s Health on children 19 to 35 months old. The Washington-based group advocates for prevention measures.

Measles is in the spotlight after more than 100 people came down with the highly contagious disease in an outbreak that started at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park in December. Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children, particularly in California, have taken the brunt of the blame. California’s preschooler vaccination rate is 90.7 percent, though there are pockets in the state where as many as one in four toddlers are unvaccinated.

“There is a persistent preschooler vaccination gap in the United States,” Jeffrey Levi, the group’s executive director, said in a statement Wednesday. “We’re seeing now how leaving children unnecessarily vulnerable to threats like the measles can have a tragic result.”

Children ages 1 to 4 make up 12 percent of the 92 confirmed measles cases in California. Adults 20 or older account for 62 percent of cases in the state, according to the California Department of Public Health.

New Hampshire has the highest measles, mumps and rubella vaccination rate for infants, at 96.3 percent, according to the study released Wednesday.

Colorado, Ohio and West Virginia have the lowest, at 86 percent. Colorado and Ohio allow philosophical exemptions for parents who choose not to vaccinate based on belief the shots might harm their children, and permit religious exemptions as well, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. West Virginia doesn’t allow either type of exemption.

Nationally, 91.1 percent of preschoolers are vaccinated, according to the study. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children get one measles, mumps and rubella immunization between the ages of 12 and 15 months. The agency recommends a second dose by 4 to 6 years old.


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Seventeen U.S. states, almost half of them in the South, have rates of less than 90 percent of preschoolers receiving the recommended measles, mumps and rubella vaccination, according to a nonprofit group's study.No state in the Northeast was below 90 percent, while eight...
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2015-15-04
Wednesday, 04 Feb 2015 12:15 PM
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