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State immunization rates decline

Staff Report | May 17, 2022 3:50 PM

OLYMPIA — Immunization rates — for vaccines other than COVID-19 — for children and teens in Washington declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from the Washington Department of Health.

Immunization rates dropped 13% in 2021 when compared with rates prior to the pandemic, said a DOH press release.

Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, DOH chief science officer, said the pandemic caused substantial disruption to family routines, from child care to health care visits to in-person education. That in turn appears to have had an effect on immunization rates, Kwan-Gett said.

The effect was most pronounced in children 35 months of age and younger, with immunization rates decreasing 9.6%, the press release said. Immunization rates were down 3.9% in children four to six years of age, 3.6% in children 11 and 12 years of age, and 1.8% for teens 13 to 17 years of age.

Up-to-date immunizations are required before children can attend preschool, kindergarten, school or child care in fall 2022, the press release said. A list of required immunizations and the ages children and teens must receive them, is available on the DOH website.

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