Health Team

AP news guide: Vaccination rates among Pennsylvania's kids

Posted October 9

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows larger percentages of Pennsylvania's children were vaccinated when entering kindergarten last school year compared to national averages.

Children entering school are required under Pennsylvania law to receive a number of vaccinations.

The state's percentage of children who sought exemptions also slightly rose, in line with the national trend.

The federal government's baseline for preventing outbreak is to have at least 90 percent of all children immunized before they enter school.

A look at vaccination rates among Pennsylvania's children:



Pennsylvania law mandates that school age children receive a number of vaccinations, including diphtheria, tetanus, chickenpox and measles, mumps and rubella.

Children can attend school without the required vaccinations if medical reasons, religious beliefs or strong philosophical, moral or ethical convictions preclude them from vaccinating.

Pennsylvania is one of 18 states that allow philosophical exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.



About 95.5 percent of kindergartners enrolled in Pennsylvania were vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella last year.

That number topped the 94.6 percent national average for those vaccinations.



Pennsylvania requires diphtheria and tetanus vaccinations, but does not have a pertussis — or whopping cough — mandate.

About 96 percent of enrolled kindergarteners met the requirement in 2015-2016.

Nationally, an estimated about 94 percent of kindergartners receive the full DTaP vaccine on average.



An estimated 96.5 percent of Pennsylvania kindergarteners had received the varicella, or chickenpox, vaccine at enrollment last year.

Nationally, just more than 94 percent of kindergarteners on average received the same two doses of the vaccine.



The percentage of children enrolled in kindergarten with a reported vaccination exemption rose 0.1 percent, just under the 0.2 percent raise in the national average.

Nationally, an average of about 1.9 percent of enrolled kindergartners was exempt last school year.

In Pennsylvania, an estimated 2.2 percent of kindergarteners were exempt, with the largest percentage of those children claiming a nonmedical exemption. About 45 percent of exempt children had a philosophic reason for not vaccinating, while 39 percent reported a religious reason and only 16 percent reported a medical exemption.



Influenza vaccinations are optional in Pennsylvania. The state health department, however, offers influenza vaccine clinics statewide during flu season to encourage immunization.

In Pennsylvania, coverage among people between six months and 17 years old was about 60.5 percent during the 2015-2016 influenza season, the CDC reports.



Exemptions by state:

CDC's report on vaccination rates:

2015-16 Influenza vaccination:


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