Thousands of US Kids Get No Vaccines, Survey Finds

Leslie Hanson
October 15, 2018

The survey used data from the 2017 National Immunization Survey-Child and focused on children ages 19- to 35-months-old. A 2001 survey with a different methodology suggested the proportion was in the neighborhood of 0.3 percent.

Amanda Cohn, a pediatrician and the CDC's senior adviser for vaccines, said "This is something we're definitely concerned about".

Cohn says that the reasons for this increase are multifaceted. These diseases, which are all preventable from vaccines, include measles, whooping cough, and many others.

The number of unvaccinated children is also up from 0.9 percent in an earlier survey involving children born in 2011.

Unvaccinated groups of people can generate local outbreaks of diseases that can later spread across the country, affecting anyone who was unable to get vaccinated for any reason.

Vaccination rates have surprisingly little to do with a region's average wealth, however: MS, one of the poorest states, had the highest vaccination rate while Washington, D.C. had the lowest by far.


Toddlers living in non-metropolitan areas had lower coverage by 2.6 to 6.9 percentage points for most vaccines compared with their urban counterparts.

The federal government offers free vaccinations to children who need them through its Vaccines for Children program.

The report found that uninsured children were more likely to be totally unvaccinated compared to those with private health insurance or Medicaid.

Eighteen states allow parents to exempt their children from vaccines if they cite religious or philosophical beliefs. The median percentage of medical exemptions was 0.2% (range = 0.1% [Hawaii] to 0.8% [Alaska]), while the median percentage of nonmedical exemptions was 2.0% (range = 0.1% [California] to 7.5% [Oregon]). But for the third year in a row, more parents are opting their children out of school vaccinations. The report does not provide a breakdown, but the majority of exemptions are nonmedical, according to data reported by the states. "It seems that in recent years, exemptions are going up, and the trend is likely due to parents refusing to vaccinate", he said.

Reasons for the increase couldn't be determined from the data reported to CDC, the agency said.

States such as West Virginia and MS, which do not allow nonmedical vaccine exemptions, have higher percentages of children getting vaccinated, said Mobeen Rathore, a pediatric infectious disease physician in Jacksonville, Florida. and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics AAP. Some believe that it stems from the choice of the parents who do not wish to have their kids vaccinated.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER