Statewide Average Kindergarten MMR Vaccination Rate Now at 91%; Well Below the Community Immunity Threshold for Measles

State law requires the ADHS to collect data about the vaccination rates for Child Care/Preschool; Kindergarten; and 6th grade. Schools submit the data to the ADHS each fall (deadline is November 15) and in the spring ADHS is required to publish the data by school. Rather than showing the actual vaccination rates, the system records the percentage of exemptions (personal, medical and religious) as a proxy for vaccination rates.

ADHS posted the data this week (which ironically is National Infant Immunization Week). There are some aggregate tables but also a big giant spreadsheet with the vaccination rate by school. A clever parent that knows how to sort in Excel could quickly find the vaccination rate for their kid’s school. Here’s the big file with all the school data: Arizona Reporting Schools Coverage

There are also some summary tables with coverage levels for various vaccines by geographic region:

The news isn’t good. As has been the case throughout the Ducey Administration, childhood vaccination rates have continued their insidious decline, with the statewide immunization rate for Kindergarteners now at 91%, well below the community immunity threshold for measles of 95%.

Vaccination rates aren’t uniform across the state. Yuma and Santa Cruz counties continue to enjoy the highest vaccination rates (above 95% for MMR among Kindergarteners). Also as usual… Yavapai had the lowest vaccination rates with MMR coverage at only 74% and nearly 10% of students totally unvaccinated among Kindergarteners.

Another continuing trend… students enrolled in charter schools have vaccination rates much lower than students in district public schools. Also, higher income districts tend to have lower vaccination rates.

There are several evidence-based strategies that can be implemented at a statewide level, but such initiatives require leadership by a state health department and governor…  something that’s in short supply in Arizona these days.

Interventions to increase pediatric vaccine uptake: An overview of recent findings

For information on school immunization requirements, review the Guides to Arizona Immunization Requirements for Child Care/Preschool and Grades K-12.

Perhaps childhood vaccination will again become a priority when we get a new governor & state health director in 250 days.