MINNESOTA, USA — New CDC numbers show vaccination rates are going down for young kids and the numbers are even lower in Minnesota.
These are the standard routine vaccines that most children get, for diseases like measles, mumps, polio, and others.
"We are getting to the point, for example with measles, where the vaccination rate needs to be 95% or higher to have herd immunity that will protect the community and we have dropped below 90% in the state of Minnesota,” Hennepin Healthcare pediatrician Dr. Leslie King-Schultz says.
According to a new CDC report, at 89%, Minnesota has the 9th lowest vaccination rate for measles, mumps and rubella among kindergartners.
Minnesota also has lower than average vaccination rates for several other vaccines.
"This is really something that we as pediatricians and health professionals are really worried about.”
Dr. Leslie King-Schultz says the rates are even lower for two-year-old children.
She says doctors normally want to see 60% to 70% of two-year-old children caught up with their routine vaccines.
“Currently we are looking at percentages that are below 50%,” Dr. King-Schultz says.
She says the pandemic is the biggest reason behind this drop, also more parents who are worried about the safety of vaccines.
"I think people have been lulled into feeling like they're not necessary because we don't see those diseases anymore, because the vaccines have been so successful,” Dr. King-Schultz says.
At Hennepin Healthcare they are now compiling lists of children who are behind on their vaccines and calling their parents to set up appointments.
They're also sending out their mobile clinic to communities that have the lowest vaccination rates to reach as many families as they can.
"We worry because once you drop below those herd immunity thresholds then those diseases can spread much more easily through the community. There's no longer that bubble of protection."
The CDC says this lower vaccination rate means about 250,000 kindergartners nationwide aren't fully protected against diseases like measles.
The Minnesota Department of Health reported 22 cases of measles in Minnesota last year after three straight years without a single case.