Report shows Shelton students getting vaccinated
Shelton schools have a low vaccination exemption rate, according to report released Friday, May 3, by the state Department of Health.
The report, a school-by-school list of vaccination rates in the state, was released after several reported measles outbreaks — with more than 700 individual cases of measles in the U.S., from Jan. 1 to April 26 with the disease appearing in 22 states, with three in Connecticut alone.
Overall, according to the DPH’s 2017-18 report, the immunization rate for the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine is 96.5 percent for kindergartners and 98.4 percent for seventh graders in Connecticut. The American Academy of Pediatrics has found that the state’s child vaccination rates overall are higher than the national average.
While some state schools have more than 30 percent of its students who have at least one vaccine exemption largely due to religious reasons, according to the report, none of the Shelton public schools are higher than 2.1 percent.
“We are pleased that Shelton parents are protecting their children, and the community, as evidenced by the high percentage of students who are vaccinated,” said school Superintendent Dr. Chris Clouet.
According to the study, Booth Hill School topped the exemption list at 2.1 percent (all medical exemptions); followed by Sunnyside School (1.8 percent, all medical), Mohegan School (1.8 percent — half religious, half medical), Old Saint Lawrence Elementary (1.5 percent, all religious), Long Hill School (1.3 percent, all medical), Shelton High School (1.2 percent — 1.2 medical, 0.1 percent religious), Shelton Intermediate School (1.1 percent — 0.7 percent medical, 0.4 percent religious), Perry Hill School (0.8 percent, all medical), and Elizabeth Shelton School (0.4 percent, all medical)
This year has had the most cases of measles out of any year dating back to at least 2010, according to the CDC, which recommends children get two doses of the MMR vaccine with the first dose coming between 12 and 15 months of age and the second between 4 and 6 years old. One dose is about 93 percent effective at preventing the disease and two doses are about 97 percent effective.
Measles is highly contagious, and CDC officials estimate that up to 90 percent of people who come into contact with an infected person who are not immune will become infected.
The U.S. started a measles vaccination program in 1963. Before that about three to four million people got the disease each year, with 400 to 500 deaths and 48,000 hospitalizations. The disease has been reduced by more than 99 percent since the start of vaccinations.
DPH Commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchell wrote to school superintendents about her intention to release the data to reveal areas that have high aversion to vaccinations so that public health education can take place and because parents of children who cannot be vaccinated due to immune issues should know the risk level of encountering unvaccinated children at school.
The data are self-reported by schools to DPH and are from the 2017-2018 school year. Information is collected in the fall at the beginning of the school year and immunization rates may be higher as students come of age and get more vaccines, according to DPH. Data are collected on each child and not each vaccine, so if a student has an exemption for one or more vaccines, they are counted as exempt.