2013-14 vaccine uptake in the USA is still high

voices-for-vaccinesDespite the continued social network misinformation about vaccine safety and/or effectiveness, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that the median vaccination coverage, amongst children between the age of 19-35 months was 94.7% for 2 doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine; 95.0% for varying local requirements for diphtheria, tetanus toxoid, and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine; and 93.3% for 2 doses of varicella vaccine among those states with a 2-dose requirement.

The median total exemption rate was 1.8%, a difficult number to truly analyze. The CDC reported many issues like some parents get an exemption even after their children are fully or partially vaccinated, some exemptions are used as a matter of convenience because the parents forgot to vaccinated, and some states don’t report exemptions. Moreover, the CDC data indicates up to 15% of exemptions are “medical,” meaning that a child cannot receive a vaccine as a result of an establish medical contraindication.

Although these numbers fall near the 95% vaccination rate goal establish by the CDC’s Health People 2020there is still a concern that clusters of unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children exist in many states and areas. Those locations become susceptible to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Moreover, 26 states and DC failed to meet the 95% goal, so the disparity between vaccinated and unvaccinated groups remain large.

The research also shows that there have been no statistically significant changes in either vaccination or exemption rate from 2012-13. This is more statistical support that the antivaccination agenda is not gaining much traction across most of the USA.

Let’s review the data by each vaccine:

There are several other interesting points about the data. For example, Mississippi, which has the literally the worst health care metrics in the USA, has a >99.7% vaccination rate for all three vaccines. Why? Because they only allow medical exemptions, no personal or religious ones. I want to congratulate Mississippi, but their health care system is so horrific, that I’m guessing that they are tough on vaccinations so that it doesn’t appear to be worse. But still, all states should immediately ban all exemptions but proven medical ones.


The graphic above shows, generally, how exemptions and vaccination coverage is clustered across the USA. States with <90% coverage for the MMR vaccine (which starts to get to the level where the herd effect becomes lessened), also have higher rates of exemptions. States like Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Arkansas, Maine and the District of Columbia seem to have the worst situation. Some of the lower rate of MMR coverage may not result from exemptions but from the availability of the vaccines for the poor and others. This happens despite the fact that vaccines are factually free for any child in the USA.

Immunization of U.S. children aged 19-35 months remains very high, with uptake of many routine vaccines (MMR, Chickenpox and DTaP) continuing to remain near or above 90 percent, according to this study. However, the study did uncover low vaccination rates for measles in some states (mostly in the West, including Colorado, Idaho, and Washington) are a concern to the CDC, and measles continues to cause outbreaks in communities with susceptible children and adults.


As a cautionary fact, he CDC has reported a higher than normal number of measles cases so far this year in the United States and described recent outbreaks of the disease.  As of last month, there have been 594 cases of measles and 18 outbreaks. This was a disease once thought to be eradicated in the USA, and has come back simply because the vaccination rate has dropped in some areas of the country All of the measles cases reported in the United States are considered to be associated with importations from other countries, and most U.S. residents who got measles this year were unvaccinated due to philosophical objections to vaccination. That’s just bad news.

Let me repeat something that I’ve said before. The antivaccine crowd really hasn’t had much of an effect if you take the broad population view of the USA. Antivaccine cultists are a tiny but obnoxiously loud group of people who lie, reject the scientific method of analysis, and create simplified memes that are meant to scare. They really haven’t made a general impact across the country, but in some regions, towns and communities, people reject real science to buy into the misinformation, thereby putting their children at harm.

But, the pro-science side (that accepts the scientific consensus that vaccines are safe and effective) continues to tell the story, using real published scientific evidence, because any child saved from a vaccine-preventable disease is a child worth saving! Because we know that vaccines save lives.


Try the Science-based Vaccine Search Engine.


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The Original Skeptical Raptor
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Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!
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  • rekster

    This is a little off topic but I have done some research and can’t find any info. The Anti vax folks are hyping the “fact” that all of the Enterovirus D68 cases are all occurring in children who have been vaccinated. Here’s an article: http://www.inquisitr.com/1464195/mysterious-ev-d68-vaccinated-children-could-be-more-vulnerable/#8WhIq30SWlY3JiYL.99

    It seems this “fact” has just been pulled out of their a@@ but I would appreciate some guidance on where to find some real facts.

    Thanks all.

    • Well, it’s impossible to prove a negative, in this case, “vaccines do not cause enterovirus D-68.”

      However, D-68 is extremely rare. Less than 100 cases in 50 years or so. Since 95% of kids are vaccinated, random occurrence, which D-68 is would say that there’s a 95% chance that someone who catches it would have been fully or partially vaccinated. In such low numbers, the probability would be anywhere from 70% to 100%, and so if 100% of D-68 cases are in vaccinated children only, given the small sample size, I wouldn’t be surprised. And the small sample size would mean there is NO evidence of causality.

      But let me go further. The antivaccination crowd is lying again (because, really they only have lies or accepting scientific facts, so they lie). Below is a link to a review I did of any article about an outbreak of D68 in California. Of the 14 patients with the diseases whose full medical records were available, 12 were vaccinated, and 2 were not. So in fact, based on that incredibly tiny sample size, you’re at more of risk of D68 when you’re not vaccinated. I’d expect <1 of those with D68 to not have been vaccinated, but it's nearly double the risk.

      See how I used ignorant understanding of simple math to manipulate the facts? To be most accurate, the sample size is way too small to make any conclusions. But it's an obvious lie to claim that ONLY vaccinated people catch the incredibly rare disease. They must think people are so stupid that they won't actually spend a nanosecond debunking their lies.

      Well, here you go. Debunking their lies:


      • rekster

        Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.

  • Lawrence McNamara

    The higher the vaccine uptake (worldwide) the greater the chance that we achieve disease eradication (like Polio & maybe even measles someday), which would make those vaccines obsolete…..which should also be a goal of the anti-vax crowd as well.

  • Ben Fairbanks

    A 95% vaccination rate across America would be great news,if immunization coverage were homogenous. If every neighbourhood in every town or city had 95% immunization rate, vaccine preventable diseases would be unlikely to find a foothold. But pockets of low vaccination in some communities permit these illnesses to linger much longer than they would otherwise. The public health would be better served if we stopped quarantining asymptomatic, heroic nurses returning from western Africa and started quarantining the patients of Dr. Jay Gordon.

    • Sandy Perlmutter

      Article about the reprehensible Dr Jay Gordon:


      A longer explanation of what is wrong with the rates of unvaccinated kids.

      Yes, let’s hear it for the scientific approach and let’s send SHAME to to stupid governors, starting with Chris Christie, who are quarantining asymptomatic heroes of the medical profession.