The state Department of Public Health has released the 2018-2019 school-reported kindergarten student immunization data for all Connecticut schools that have more than 30 kindergarten students.
The department says there are now 134 Connecticut schools where the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination rate for kindergarten students falls below the federally recommended guideline of 95 percent. See the kindergarten numbers
The immunization rate data show a 31.1 percent increase in the number of schools that fell below the 95 percent kindergarten MMR vaccination rate guideline, according to the department.
There are 47 schools that were below the 95 percent threshold in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years.
The overall statewide number of religious exemptions to vaccination increased by 25 percent between the two school years, from 2 percent to 2.5 percent, which as previously reported, represents the largest single year increase in religious exemptions for vaccination since the DPH started tracking the statewide data a decade ago.
The department of health says the national rate for non-medical exemptions for kindergarteners was 2.2 percent, placing Connecticut above the national rate by 0.3 percent.
Brian and Kristen Festa spent months trying to stop the release of additional immunization information and have the data from 2017-2018 removed from online.
A Superior Court judge dismissed their lawsuit last month. The Bristol couple was in the process of appealing it.
Now their son has an exemption from mandatory vaccines.
The family said this fight is not necessarilyy about vaccines themselves, but it’s their belief that immunization data is considered private under state regulations.
After the release of the immunization data back in May, the Festas say they suffered mental and emotional distress because of hateful comments directed toward students with exemptions and their parents.
Brian Festa said he’s concerned today’s data release will lead to continued harassment.
“At this point, I can’t control what other people are going to do. I can only move forward with the legal process as I said and we will continue to fight," Festa said.
Festa said they’re basically giving up the effort in the courts concerning the data that was just made public, but they’re going to keep working to prevent this type of information from being released in the future.