CDC: Childhood vaccination rates drop second year in row

Posted at 5:55 PM, Jan 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-17 18:19:11-05

(WXYZ) — For the second year in a row, the percentage of children vaccinated for measles, mumps, and rubella dropped. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control. Everyone agrees it’s important to have these discussions with a pediatrician you trust.

The CDC said 93% of children entering kindergarten had their required immunizations last school year. The recommended level for herd immunity is 95%. So, that's a 2% drop.

The school year prior to that, closed schools and doctor’s offices during the pandemic were blamed.

Tracine Manning said her great-granddaughter, Aleyah Harris, is caught up on her vaccinations. 7 Action News spoke with her as she took the 6-year-old to a follow-up appointment for allergies at Children’s Hospital.

“She’s had her immunizations since birth. Whenever the physicians question that she get them, she’s gotten them," Manning explained.

"And she’s had to get ‘em in order to attend preschool," she added.

Manning said when the Aleyah's mother asked her for her guidance, there was no hesitation.

“I’m a nurse, and I just feel that she needed to be protected as much as possible. So, it was extremely important and all my children were vaccinated as well," Manning said.

Dr. Kevin Dazy, a pediatrician with Children’s Hospital explained what the reported drop in childhood vaccinations accounts for.

“They’re seeing in the older kids that need boosters, the booster percentage is what’s decreasing and driving some of the incomplete immunization rates when it comes to kindergartners entering school," the doctor explained.

Dazy said it’s a good time for parents to check in with pediatrician.

“So, when we start to see the decrease in vaccine rates, that’s then going to increase the population that’s at risk for some of those otherwise preventable diseases and these are illnesses that lead to hospitalizations, can lead to severe illness and potentially even death," he explained.

While doctors at Children’s Hospital express the importance of childhood vaccines, others advocate for choice and for families to make their own informed decisions without government mandates.

Connie Johnson, media director for Michigan for Vaccine Choice said, “This is what we advocate... is that people understand what their rights are under the law and then understand the risk going into any specific procedure versus benefits.”

As Johnson pointed out, the data is based on exemption rates. Parents can apply for medical or religious reasons. The CDC said the exemption rate 'remained low at 2.6%'.

Another 3.9% of children without an exemption were not up to date with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

Johnson said, “As alarming as it might sound that we’re falling short. Kids are completely under-vaccinated; we vacillate every single year. This is not any different. What I am surprised about is we're not lower.”