Fewer than 90 percent of preschoolers have been vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella in 17 U.S. states, and they’re at risk of becoming infected, health groups said Wednesday.
Despite the recent outbreak of measles linked to Disneyland, it’s not California that has the lowest vaccination rate, but Colorado, Ohio and West Virginia. Only 86 percent of preschoolers have been given at least one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) vaccine in those states, the Trust for America’s Health found.
The national average is just over 91 percent.
"To have pockets where community immunity is below 90 percent is worrisome as they will be the ones most vulnerable to a case of measles exploding into an outbreak,” said Litjen Tan, chief strategy officer at the Immunization Action Coalition.
"Sadly, there is a persistent preschooler vaccination gap in the United States. We're seeing now how leaving children unnecessarily vulnerable to threats like the measles can have a tragic result," said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust. "We need to redouble our national commitment to improving vaccination rates."
The groups looked up data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows vaccination rates. By the time they reach kindergarten, nearly 95 percent of U.S. kids have been given a measles vaccine and the state with the highest rates is Mississippi, at 99.7 percent. Only 81.7 percent of kids in Colorado have been vaccinated by the time they reach kindergarten.
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-- Maggie Fox