The report also tallies vaccine numbers for tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (whooping cough), polio, hepatitis B, and varicella (chickenpox).
Forty seven states, the District of Columbia, and five other areas reported their vaccine numbers. The city of Houston submitted its own figures, which were the highest reported, at 99.5% for MMR. Figures for Wyoming, New Hampshire, and New Jersey were not available.
California, the state where Deville teaches and practices, met the 95% goal for only two of the vaccines: chickenpox and hepatitis B.
"Our coverage is really not ideal," says Deville. He says the number of children in his state who were granted exemptions from vaccines for medical, religious, or philosophical reasons is too high for comfort.
"We see there are 12,000 out of the half million kindergarten age kids here," says Deville. "That's a sizable percentage that right off the bat won't be vaccinated."
Exemptions From Immunization
Overall, according to the report, 1.5% of children were granted exemptions from vaccinations. That figure varied dramatically from state to state. Mississippi, which does not allow religious or philosophical exemptions, had an exemption rate below 0.1%, the lowest number in the country. Alaska granted exemptions to 7% of its children. Arkansas reported the largest increase in exemptions from the previous year; Nebraska reported the steepest decline.
For the most part, the percentages reported reflect statewide averages. However, the report's authors point out the need to focus on local rates of immunization that might get overlooked when focusing on the big picture.
"Since exemptions cluster geographically, there might be smaller areas and schools where low levels of immunization could sustain ongoing measles transmission after importation from other countries," the report states.