WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is out with its annual statistics on vaccination rates for little kids and, overall, both the nation and this region score high.
The new numbers are included in two reports — one on children who were between the ages of 19 months and 35 months in 2014, and the other on kids who entered kindergarten in the 2014-2015 school year.
Vaccination rates for the toddlers varied with different vaccines and ranged from a national average of 91.5 percent for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to 57.5 percent for hepatitis A. Overall, 71.6 percent received all the required shots.
The report on kindergartners indicates that compliance went up by the time kids entered school. Instead of giving a national average for kindergartners getting all their vaccinations, the report focused on the number of children considered exempt from state immunization requirements — 1.7 percent.
In most categories in both reports, Maryland, Virginia and D.C. all performed at or above the national average. All scored a lower percentage of kindergartners with exemptions for medical or nonmedical reasons: 1.5 percent in D.C., 1 percent in Maryland and .6 percent in Virginia.
“I think locally, we tend to do very well,” says Dr. Linda Fu, a pediatrician with the Children’s National Health System.
Fu cites a number of factors, including parental involvement, tough regulation enforcement by local school districts, and an all-out effort by health care providers and community groups to spread the word about the importance of childhood immunizations.
She says a measles outbreak early this year at Disneyland has increased public awareness, and sent a strong message to parents who “are now more vigilant about being sure their kids are up to date.”
Fu says she is especially impressed by the diligence many low-income parents in D.C. have shown when it comes to vaccinating their children.
“D.C. is a smaller area with great pockets of poverty — and poverty is associated with lower immunization rates,” she says.
But D.C. constantly does well in this area and past CDC studies have shown its record is one of the best among major American cities.
Read the CDC report below:
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