Colorado finally shedding its reputation as a laggard in childhood vaccination rates – The Denver Post
Colorado could finally be shedding its reputation as a state that eschews childhood vaccinations.
New figures from the health department show, for the second school year in a row, that more than 90 percent of students got their required shots.
The shots are being administered at levels that officials say is needed to protect children against diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B and polio. Prevention of the spread of viruses also is protecting kids who don’t get vaccinated.
“This builds up protections for all kids — even those who can’t, for some reason, get immunized,” Tony Cappello, director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s disease control and environmental epidemiology division.
Based on information reported by schools and child care facilities across the state, nearly 93 percent of students at Colorado schools and more than 95 percent of children in child care or preschool received their immunizations during the 2017-18 school year. Immunization and exemption rates for individual vaccines were stable compared with the previous year, health officials said.
Immunization rates were 93 percent or better for all vaccines, except for Tdap, which was 90 percent for those in sixth grade or up. Tdap is a combination vaccine that protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough.
The latest vaccination numbers are a far cry from just a few years ago, when Colorado was considered a pivot point in the anti-vaccination movement. In 2013, Colorado ranked 45th among states in vaccination rates for children ages 19-35 months and ranked at the bottom nationally for kindergartners vaccinated for measles, at just 82 percent. Colorado was also one of 20 states that allow parents to claim any kind of personal opposition to immunization programs.
The state’s low vaccination rates worried doctors who said they were well