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Press Releases

05/03/2019

DPH Releases School-Based Immunization Data for All CT Public and Private Schools

Data Show More than 100 Schools have Vaccination Rates for Measles, Mumps and Rubella Below Federal Guideline for Kindergarten of 95% 

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today is for the first time releasing to the public immunization information for each school in Connecticut – public and private – where at least 30 children are enrolled.  As of this morning, the information is now posted on the Department’s web site (a link to the information can be found at the bottom of this news release).  Earlier this week, DPH Commissioner Renée Coleman-Mitchell sent a letter in coordination with the Connecticut State Department of Education informing all school administrative and health officials throughout the state about the release of the data.  That letter can be found here. In taking this step, Connecticut joins New York and most of the New England states (including Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont) in releasing immunizations rates by school.  

“While Connecticut’s immunization rate for measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination of kindergarteners remains high at 96.5%, we are also seeing a troubling trend that the number of students entering kindergarten who are not fully immunized is growing,” said DPH Commissioner Coleman-Mitchell. “Our goal in releasing immunization data for each school is to increase public awareness of vaccination rates in local communities.  Hopefully, this will lead to more engagement and focus on increasing immunization rates to reduce the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases.” 

The information release includes the percentage of children in kindergarten and 7th grade who are vaccinated against measles and other diseases as recommended. It also includes the percentage of children in any grade who have an immunization exemption.  The data include immunization percentages for public and private schools where 30 or more students are enrolled.  Special precautions have been taken not to release private medical data, and no names or any other information that could be used to identify students is included in the figures now available online.  

High vaccination rates protect not only vaccinated children but also those who cannot or have not been vaccinated. This is called herd immunity. Schools that achieve herd immunity reduce the risk of outbreaks. High vaccination rates at schools are especially important for medically fragile children. Some children have conditions that affect their immunity, such as illnesses that require chemotherapy. These children cannot be safely vaccinated, and at the same time, they are less able to fight off illness when they are infected. They depend on herd immunity for their health or even their lives.

For students to be relatively safe from measles, the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines state that at least 95% of kindergarten students in the school need to be vaccinated. The 2017–2018 immunization data released by DPH reveals that there were 108 schools reporting measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination levels for kindergarten below 95%.

As of April 26, 2019 at least 704 measles cases have been confirmed nationally in 22 states during 2019. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since measles was eliminated from this country in 2000. There is currently an active, major measles outbreak in New York City impacting hundreds of families. In Connecticut this year, three measles cases have been confirmed and so far the state has been able to prevent a widespread outbreak of the disease.

Click here to view the school immunization survey data released today:
https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Immunizations/School-Survey
 
For more information about vaccine-preventable diseases, please visit:
https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Immunizations/VACCINE-PREVENTABLE-DISEASES

Anyone with questions regarding the State of Connecticut immunization program can call 860-509-7929 or send an email to dph.immunizations@ct.gov