Dept. of Public Health releases immunization rates by school

Connecticut
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In this April 18, 2019, photo syringes with vaccines, alcohol swabs and bandages are prepped for vaccinations in Omaha, Neb. (Kent Sievers/Omaha World-Herald via AP)

The Connecticut Department of Public Health Immunization Program has released data showing immunization rates by school, including the number of medical or religious exemptions.

The data was gathered from a 2017-2018 Connecticut immunization survey.

According to the report, Redding Elementary School has the highest use of religious exemptions.

Related: Pro-vaccine lawmaker reports online threat to her children 

This first ever report was released as vaccinations have become a hot topic among lawmakers with the nation’s recent measles outbreak. Connecticut had confirmed three cases of measles for 2019 as of mid-April.

Related Content: More measles outbreaks across country, including movie theater and cruise ship

Click below for the full report: 

Dr. Byron Kennedy is the head of the New Haven Health department. Kennedy warns that the information could be misleading. “I think they should take it in context,” Dr. Kennedy said. “If you have a school that’s a relatively small number of students like less than 100 as opposed to over a thousand, then any small variation can throw off the percentage widely.”

If parents are concerned about the report, Dr. Kennedy recommends having a conversation with their child’s pediatrician. Parents can also reach out to school officials or the school nurse.

Dr. Kennedy also pointed out that the data for the report was taken in the fall of the school year. Someone that was not vaccinated at that time could have been vaccinated later in the school year.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health said that last year, 96.5 percent of kindergarteners were immunized against measles, mumps and rubella.

Below are reactions from legislative leaders on the report: 

Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven):

“Today’s data from the state Department of Public Health bears out what many of us feared. The immunization level is dangerously low in a significant number of schools and communities putting the public’s health at risk. This is a matter of grave public health concern.”

Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin/Southington):

“Ensuring that our schools are safe, healthy learning environments for our children is an ongoing responsibility. Public health is always top priority, and when there are signs it is being compromised, it can’t be ignored.”         

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk):

“We have seen public health crises across the country due to a lack of vaccinations. The newly released immunization data demonstrates that parts of our state are possibly at risk of an outbreak of certain communicable diseases. We owe it to our children to consider any and all possible solutions to this potential crisis.”

House Majority Leader Matt Ritter (D-Hartford):

“These numbers are shocking. The more students who are vaccinated, the safer a school is from an outbreak of measles or other vaccine-preventable disease.”

Governor Ned Lamont:

“This data is startling and needs to be addressed. This cannot become a public health crisis as we have seen in other states. Making sure all of our young students in Connecticut are safe is the number one priority.”

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