A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reveals a concerning increase in childhood vaccine exemption rates across more than 40 states.
According to the CDC, for the 2022-2023 school year, the vaccine exemption rate increased overall to 3% for the more than 3.8 million children entering kindergarten, marking the highest rate ever reported.
Data from forty-nine states and Washington, D.C. for state-required vaccines among public school kindergarteners were released for the 2022-2023 school year, with 48 states and D.C. releasing data for all state-required vaccines and exemption data for private school kindergartners.
Fighting HIV: Long a bipartisan effort, a program to fight global HIV is stuck in Washington gridlock
Child vaccine exemptions increased in 41 states, some more than others
Vaccine exemptions increased in 41 states, with some, such as Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, and Wisconsin, seeing the exemption rate exceed 5%. Idaho reported the highest rate among states, with a 12.1% exemption rate.
Montana was the sole state excluded from the CDC’s analysis, as it did not report kindergarten vaccination for both the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years.
While vaccine coverage remained near 93% for all reported vaccines during the 2022-2023 school year, including DTap (Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis), polio, and measles, mumps, and rubella, the CDC states that vaccine exemptions over 5% pose a heightened risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
RSV shot shortage for babies: See the CDC’s new guidance on who can get them
Are there vaccine exemptions in every state?
All states allow vaccine exemptions for medical reasons. While some states permit exemptions for religious or philosophical reasons, others mandate medical evidence that a child cannot receive a vaccine.
CDC: Tobacco use among high schoolers is going down, but increasing for middle schoolers