Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Vaccines Health Center

Font Size

Vaccination Rate for Kindergartners Is Over 90%

But CDC Study Shows Immunization Rates in States Are Still Below U.S. Goals
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

June 2, 2011 -- More than 90% of children entering kindergarten in the U.S. have had most recommended immunizations, although coverage rates remain below target goals for most states, the CDC says.

The newly published vaccination coverage report for the first time includes state-by-state data on vaccination exceptions granted for medical, religious, or philosophical reasons.

More than half of the states providing vaccination information to the CDC had exemption rates of around 1% or less. Four states -- Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Vermont -- had exemptions above 5%.

"Nationwide, the number of children who have not been vaccinated at all is less than 1%," CDC Director of Immunization Services Lance Rodewald, MD, tells WebMD. "This shows that parents and physicians understand that vaccination is the bedrock of child health efforts."

States That Met Target Goals

Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia provided data for the vaccine coverage report, published in the June 3 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The government's target goals for vaccination among children entering kindergarten is 95% or greater coverage by 2020 for poliovirus; diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP/DTaP/DT); measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR); hepatitis B; and varicella, the vaccine that prevents chickenpox.

The report revealed that:

  • Seventeen states reported coverage of 95% or more for each of four major vaccines: poliovirus; diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis; measles, mumps, and rubella; and hepatitis B.
  • Just four states -- Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, and South Dakota -- had 95% or higher coverage for two doses of varicella vaccine. School-based chickenpox outbreaks led to a recommendation for a second varicella dose in 2006, but it appears that many children aren't getting the booster.
  • Mississippi reported less than 1% medical or non-medical exemptions, while Washington State had the highest percentage of exemptions, with 6.2% of children entering kindergarten with parent-signed exemption forms for one or more vaccines.

Philosophical Objections to Vaccines

The vast majority of the exemptions in Washington (4,515 of 5,015) resulted from parents who have philosophical objections to having their children vaccinated.

But Michele Roberts of the Washington State Department of Health says the number may be misleading because the state now allows parents to sign vaccination exemption forms when they register their children for school, so parents without the right documentation may be signing the forms for convenience.

Today on WebMD

Baby getting vaccinated
Is there a link? Get the facts.
syringes and graph illustration
Get a customized vaccine schedule.
baby getting a vaccine
Know the benefits and the risk
nurse holding syringe in front of girl
Should your child have it?

What To Know About The HPV Vaccine
24 Kid Illnesses Parents Should Know
Nausea and Vomiting Remedies Slideshow
Managing Immunization Schedules For Kids

Doctor administering vaccine to toddler
gloved hand holding syringe
infant receiving injection

WebMD Special Sections