THURSDAY, Jan. 12, 2023 (HealthDay News) — For children in kindergarten, vaccination coverage was lower for all vaccines in the 2021 to 2022 school year compared with the 2020 to 2021 school year, according to research published in the Jan. 13 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 on vaccination coverage and exemptions to vaccination among children in kindergarten from 49 states and the District of Columbia and the grace period status for kindergarteners in 27 states for the 2021 to 2022 school year.

The researchers found that coverage with two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR), with the state-required number of diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine doses, with poliovirus vaccine, and with the state-required number of varicella vaccine doses was 93.5, 93.1, 93.5, and 92.8 percent, respectively, nationwide. Vaccination coverage decreased 0.4 to 0.9 percentage points for all vaccines compared with the 2020 to 2021 school year. Overall, 2.6 percent of kindergarteners had an exemption for one or more vaccines, and an additional 3.9 percent were not up to date with MMR even though they did not have an exemption.

“Vaccination coverage among kindergarten students remains below prepandemic levels,” the authors write. “Rigorously enforced school vaccination requirements, school-based vaccination clinics, reminder and recall systems, and follow-up with undervaccinated students by school nurses are effective strategies to improve vaccination coverage.”

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