State data shows majority of Shelton students are vaccinated
All Shelton schools exceeded the recommended threshold for children’s vaccinations last school year, according to data released Monday.
The state Department of Public Health data shows that more than 95 percent of students in each of the Shelton schools have been immunized for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). According to the data, there were 149 Connecticut schools in 2018-19 with less than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended immunity rate of 95 percent.
“I would like to compliment the parents of Shelton for ensuring their children are vaccinated,” said school Superintendent Chris Clouet. “I would also like to commend the nursing staff for helping inform parents and having this happen in a timely fashion.”
The data records medical and religious exemptions for each school. Sunnyside and Elizabeth Shelton School had no students claim exemptions; Long Hill School had 0.5 percent (all religious exemptions); Perry Hill School had 1.2 percent (all religious exemptions); Mohegan School had 1.3 percent (all religious exemptions); and Booth Hill School had 1.7 percent (1.2 percent medical exemptions, 0.6 religious exemptions).
Shelton High School had 1.2 percent (1.2 percent religious, 0.1 percent medical) and Shelton Intermediate School had 0.8 percent (0.6 percent religious, 0.1 medical). Holy Trinity Catholic Academy, a private school, had a 2.2 percent exemption rate, all religious exemptions.
On a statewide basis, the immunization rate data show a 31.1 percent increase in the number of schools that fell below the 95 percent kindergarten vaccination rate guideline, and 41 schools have vaccination rates below 90 percent. There are a total of 47 schools that were below the 95 percent threshold in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years.
As reported previously, the overall statewide number of religious exemptions to vaccination increased by 25 percent between the two school years (from 2.0 percent to 2.5 percent). This represents the largest single year increase in religious exemptions for vaccination since the DPH started tracking the statewide data a decade ago. According to data released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the national rate for non-medical exemptions for kindergartners was 2.2 percent, placing Connecticut above the national rate by 0.3 percent.
“While it is good that statewide in Connecticut we are still meeting the federally recommended MMR vaccination rate of 95 percent for kindergartners, I am very concerned that the number of schools falling short of this important immunization level continues to rise,” said DPH Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell.
Coleman-Mitchell said the data reveals that a sharp rise in the number of religious exemptions is causing declining immunization rates.
“This unnecessarily puts our children at risk for contracting measles and other vaccine preventable diseases,” said Coleman-Mitchell. “To address this unnecessary risk, I have recommended to Governor Lamont and legislative leadership that non-medical exemptions to vaccination be repealed. This will help ensure that all children in our state can learn in a healthy environment.”
Coleman-Mitchell said high vaccination rates protect not only vaccinated children but also those who cannot or have not been vaccinated - which is called community immunity or herd immunity.
“Parents should discuss any questions or concerns about vaccines or vaccine safety with their child’s pediatrician or primary care physician,” she said. “We need to work to ensure that every school in Connecticut achieves the CDC vaccination rate guideline to keep diseases, such as measles, from spreading in our children’s schools.”