Under Vaccinated Kids Fall Through The Cracks

1930 WordsAug 26, 20148 Pages
Start here Under-vaccinated kids fall through the cracks By Lauren M. Whaley AND A PARTNER?? , CHCF Center for Health Reporting To prepare for their five- (and soon to be five) year-olds for the first day of school, parents may lay out clothes the night before, pack backpacks and steel themselves for teary goodbyes. They’re also supposed to have made sure their kids are up to date on all state-required vaccinations. But about six percent of the state’s half million kindergarteners won’t have all their shots when they file into class. These undervaccinated students, who in some schools make up to more than half of the entering class, are different from children whose parents who excuse them entirely from vaccinations due to medical issues or personal beliefs. These undervaccinated children can attend school on a “conditional” basis — with the promise to get fully vaccinated soon. Some counties are more concerned than others. “When I saw that our kindergarten immunization rates were lower than the state average., [I said,] ‘What’s going on? This is no good.’” said Amy Pine, director of the Immunization Program for the Alameda County Public Health Department. She thought the rates had to do with the high number of exemptions due to personal beliefs. She was wrong. “We have a conditional entrant problem here,” she said. “I’ve told people here I want to make this my mission.” Last school year, Alameda had a 9.05 percent of students that entered kindergarten on a conditional

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