MMR Immunization Rates for Kindergarteners in Connecticut Declined .6 Percent: Officials

The number of religious exemptions jumped by 25 percent.

Connecticut’s Department of Health (DPH) is providing clarity for parents after the release of kindergarten immunization rates for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).

According to the DPH, MMR immunization rates for kindergarten students dropped from 96.5% for the 2017-2018 school year to 95.9% for the 2018-2019 school year concluding this past June. The data shows a 0.6% decrease in one year.

The report also shows the overall number of religious exemptions to vaccination increased by 25% between the two school years. In 2017-2018, more than 2% of students were vaccinated. In 2018-2019, the number spiked to 2.5%.

25% increase in religious exemptions

MMR immunization rates

The findings represent the largest single-year increase in religious exemptions for vaccinations since DPH started tracking the statewide data a decade ago. The increase sparks a continued trend of steadily decking MMR vaccination rates amount Connecticut Kindergartens since the 2015-2016 school year.

Shirine Jablon is asking for transparency to help protect her two daughters from catching any illnesses at school.

"I think we have a right to know, I mean vaccinations prevent spreading diseases,” said Jablon. “It’s not a violation to know, but rather great information to have.”

The increase is also getting reaction from medical professionals like Dr. Patricia Garcia.

“We as a community need to know that information to be able to not only protect our children but advocate for ourselves and our community,” said Dr. Garcia. “I would recommend that parents check there's school vaccine rates and you want to make sure that the vaccination rates are as high as possible.”

Garcia wants parents to take charge in the fight to cut down on the amount of children who aren’t vaccinated.

“If you see that your school's vaccine rates are really low and your child hasn't been vaccinated yet because of their age or a medical reason, you really want to be careful with your child,” Garcia said. "I think the public has a right to know this information and it's public data and it should be made available."

Danielle Revicki has an issue with the risk that some students may encounter at schools.

“I feel if they're going to be going to school with the public than they should have the vaccinations,” said Revicki. “All of my kids had to get the vaccinations, there weren't any exceptions.”

Garcia says parents should pay close attention to the numbers before holding out on the vaccinations.

“They prevent certain very serious childhood illnesses, some of which we're very familiar with because we've seen them a lot in the news,” says Garcia.

Gov. Ned Lamont is overruling his public health commissioner, saying he wants school-by-school vaccination rates released.

The governor's office said county-by county data will be released in October and scholl-by-school numbers will be released sometime afterward.

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