Who Vaccinates?

Some schools flirt with threshold for outbreaks

By Chip Rowe

New York State requires students in grades kindergarten through grade 12 in public and private schools to be vaccinated against diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis, polio, tetanus and varicella (chickenpox) unless a parent or guardian is granted a medical or religious exemption by the school.

Health officials have been concerned because of the re-emergence of measles in areas with relatively low vaccination rates. Last year Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and Rockland County were hit. In an outbreak in Clark County, Washington, where the vaccination rates among schoolchildren is about 78 percent, there have been 49 cases so far this year. For measles, the vaccination threshold to prevent outbreaks is thought to be 93 percent to 95 percent.

The New York Health Department compiles data about vaccinations for students from kindergarten through 12th grade from about 5,400 schools. The numbers below are for the 2017-18 school year. Across the state, about 95 percent of students are completely immunized.

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