THURSDAY, Jan. 21, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Overall, 2.3 percent of kindergarteners were not up to date with measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination and did not have an exemption in the 2019 to 2020 school year, according to research published in the Jan. 22 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Ranee Seither, M.P.H., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues summarized data collected by state and local immunization programs on vaccination coverage among children in kindergarten in 48 states, exemptions for kindergarteners in 49 states, and provisional enrollment and grace period status for kindergarteners in 28 states for the 2019 to 2020 school year.

The researchers found that vaccination coverage was 94.9, 95.2, and 94.8 percent for the state-required number of doses of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine, for two doses of MMR vaccine, and for the state-required number of varicella vaccine doses, respectively. Among the kindergarteners, 2.5 percent had an exemption from at least one vaccine, while another 2.3 percent were not up to date with MMR and did not have an exemption.

“Providers, schools, and immunization programs will need to increase follow-up with undervaccinated students and find ways to overcome pandemic-related barriers to maintain the high level of vaccination coverage necessary to continue protecting school-aged children, their family members, and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases during virtual learning and as schools return to in-person instruction,” the authors write.

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