For Immediate Release: June 12, 2020
High Percentage of Vermont K-12 Students are Fully Immunized
BURLINGTON, VT – School immunization data released by the Vermont Department of Health shows that over 95% of Vermont students from kindergarten to 12th grade have all their required vaccines.
“This high rate of children who are up-to-date with their vaccines reflects the ongoing work by Vermont health care providers, child cares, schools and parents,” said Christine Finley, the Health Department’s immunization program manager. “By working together, we are succeeding in making sure our children and our communities are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.”
Schools are required to report vaccination rates by January 1 each year. While many have reached high levels of coverage among their students, some schools have much lower rates.
According to Health Department data, 77% of schools — representing 89% of Vermont students — meet the 95% immunization rate needed for community immunity against measles. Ninety-five schools had a MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccination rate of less than the 95% immunization rate.
“As we celebrate the high statewide coverage Vermonters have achieved, it’s important that we do not ignore the areas in our state where we need to continue to improve vaccination rates,” said Finley.
Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic created challenges to getting children vaccinated, both in Vermont and nationally. Dr. Levine urged parents to get their children caught up and stay current on immunizations, to protect children and our communities from vaccine-preventable outbreaks.
“It is more important now than ever to protect against diseases for which we do have a vaccine,” said Dr. Levine. “Vaccines have allowed us to think of many diseases, like polio, as things of the past. What we are living through now with the COVID-19 pandemic is a painful reminder of how difficult it is to face a disease without something like a vaccine in our corner.”
Many Vermont health care providers are now taking extra steps to ensure patients have opportunities to get up to date on their vaccinations. At Timberlane Pediatrics in South Burlington, Dr. Leah Costello said they have held outdoor immunization clinics for patients. They are also sharing the message that providers are taking all precautions to keep everyone safe, both at clinics and at office visits.
“While waiting for a vaccine to prevent COVID 19, we cannot place kids at increased risk for other preventable infectious disease when safe and effective immunizations are available,” Dr. Costello said. “Although COVID 19 is putting our country on hold we cannot put our children's health on hold as well.”
Parents, caregivers, and all Vermonters are encouraged to talk with their doctors and make sure they and their children are up to date on all recommended vaccinations.
- See the school immunization rates: healthvermont.gov/disease-control/immunization/vaccination-coverage
- Learn more about immunizations: healthvermont.gov/immunizations
- Find out more about measles: healthvermont.gov/measles
- Get data on The COVID Effect: Vaccines Administered 2019 vs. 2020.
- Stay informed about reducing your risk of COVID-19: healthvermont.gov/covid19
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