Immunizations- kindergartners with exemptions in Maine

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Why This Indicator Matters

Kindergarten-entry vaccination requirements have played an important role in controlling vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States.  In 2019, Maine passed a law by referendum requiring school children receive vaccinations, however, it does not take effect until  September 2021. So currently, Maine allows for exemptions to required vaccinations based on medical, religious or philosophical reasons. If more kindergartners are vaccinated the chance that disease will spread through schools and communities is lessened. Achieving a 95% or higher level of vaccinations provides more protection against the spread of diseases than lower rates.

What the data shows
For 2019, (the 2019-2020 school year)  Piscataquis (10.8), Franklin  (10.5%)   Hancock (10.1%) Counties had kindergarten vaccination exemption rates above 10%.  For 2019, five counties achieved the 95% vaccination rate and had kindergarten exemptions below 5%. These counties were: Washington (2.8%), Aroostook (3.0%), Penobscot, (5.0%), York (4.8%), and Androscoggin (4.8%).

Looking at 4 years of data, the overall rate of kindergarten exemptions for vaccinations increased each year from 4.5% in 2015-2016 to 6.2% in 2018-2019, but it dipped slightly in 2019 to 5.9%, though certain counties continued to show increasing rates.
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Definitions: Kindergartners with exemptions shows the percent of kindergarten students with a written exemption on file for medical, religious or philosophical reasons for any required vaccine. The numerator is the number of kindergartners with an exemption for any vaccine and the denominator is the number of kindergartners.

Data Source: Maine Center for Disease Control School Vaccination Reports

Footnotes: The year refers to the school year where 2019 represents the 2019-2020 school year. Vaccination records are as of October 1.

The percentage of missing records for 2019 is 1.2%. Maine law requires these students be excluded from schools by superintendents until records are provided.

Updated May 2020