Strong vaccination coverage among children in kindergarten for 2009–10 school year

Majority of states report vaccination coverage levels greater than 90%

Among 47 states and the District of Columbia for the 2009–10 school year submitting data to CDC, the majority reported , with 17 states reporting levels greater than 95% for four vaccines (polio, DTaP [diphtheria–tetanus–acellular pertussis], MMR [measles–mumps–rubella], and hepatitis B). According to the report published in the June 3 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, total exemption rates ranged from less than 1% to 6.2%, with 15 states reporting exemption rates less than 1%.

According to CDC: "Excluding varicella vaccine, the number of reporting grantees with ≥95% vaccination coverage ranged from 23 (50%) grantees for 2 doses of MMR vaccine to 28 (67%) grantees for HepB vaccine ... 17 grantees achieved ≥95% coverage for four vaccines (complete series of poliovirus, DTP/DTaP/DT, MMR, and HepB vaccines). Among the 21 grantees that monitor receipt of 2 doses of varicella vaccine, coverage ranged from 62.9% (Idaho) to 99.6% (Georgia), with 10 grantees reporting coverage ≥90% and four grantees reporting coverage ≥95%."

Exemptions rates showed wide variations—from less than 0.1% (Mississippi) to 6.2% (Washington—and 15 grantees had a total exemption rate of 3.0% or higher. CDC reported: "Of the three types of allowable exemptions, medical exemptions were the least frequent, ranging from <0.1% (Mississippi) to 1.7% (Alaska). Nonmedical exemptions ranged from 0.2% (Rhode Island) to 5.8% (Washington) among the 45 grantees that allow nonmedical exemptions."

According to CDC, requirements for school vaccination in the United States began in 1855 when Massachusetts became the first state to require smallpox vaccine for school entry, in order to control smallpox epidemics. The constitutionality of school vaccination requirements was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1922. Vaccination levels among children enrolling in school have been assessed each year by state and local health departments, beginning in 1978. School or health department personnel review vaccination histories of students to determine adherence with school requirements that have been established to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases and ensure high vaccine coverage rates. Schools report data to state/area health departments, which report aggregated totals to CDC.