DPH Updates School-Based Immunization Data for CT Public and Private Schools
Data Review Confirms More Than 100 Schools Have Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccination Rates Below 95% Federal Guideline for Kindergarten
The Department of Public Health (DPH) today is releasing updated school-by-school immunization rate data as a follow-up to the data release of Friday May 3, 2019 (Link: https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Immunizations/School-Survey). To ensure the accuracy of the school immunization data, DPH personnel have worked with school officials to identify and correct reporting errors. As a result of this process, DPH has updated the kindergarten immunization rate data for 11 schools in Connecticut and updated 7th grade data for five schools in the state. Statewide, the kindergarten student immunization rate for measles mumps and rubella (MMR) is 96.5% – a number that factors in a 96.8% rate for public schools and a 91.6% rate for private schools. The data show there are 102 schools in Connecticut where the kindergarten immunization rate for the MMR vaccine is below the federal guideline of 95%.
“I am glad we had this opportunity to update the school-based immunization data we released last week with slight corrections from a small number of schools,” said DPH Commissioner Renée Coleman-Mitchell. “I appreciate the cooperation we have received from school officials across the state as we all take a closer look at detailed, localized school immunization data for the first time in Connecticut. I think we can clearly say at this point that although our overall percentage of young children immunized for dangerous diseases such as measles is strong, there are some pockets of vulnerability. Engaging in this healthy dialogue and raising awareness of vaccinations in the context of a major national measles outbreak are exactly why we felt compelled to release the data.”
To derive the immunization data, schools report to DPH the total number of kindergarten and 7th grade students in each grade, and then report the total number of those students to either show proof of vaccination, or claim an exemption from vaccination. In Connecticut, exemptions to vaccination can either be for a medical reason as approved by a physician, or for religious reasons as stated by a child’s parent or guardian. Schools also report to DPH the total number of vaccination exemptions for the entire student population. Those numbers are written on paper forms – often by school nurses –and then submitted to DPH.
According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles is extremely contagious and can spread through the air so at least 95% of students need to be vaccinated to prevent an outbreak. As of May 3, 2019, at least 764 measles cases have been confirmed nationally in 23 states. This number of confirmed cases is an increase of 60 cases from the previous week and now represents the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since measles was declared eradicated from the USA in 2000.
Currently, parts of New York City and Rockland County in New York State are experiencing active, major measles outbreaks 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.
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