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Guide PHIT Data: Kindergarten Immunization School Survey

We strive to improve the quality of life of all Massachusetts residents through the elimination of communicable diseases. Data included here represent vaccination coverage among children entering kindergarten.

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What you need to know

Vaccines are one of the great public health advances of the 20th century, and prevent hundreds of thousands of illnesses in the US every year. Vaccines protect both the person vaccinated and those around them from serious diseases, a concept known as herd immunity. Herd immunity protects other members of the community, such as babies too young to be vaccinated or those who cannot receive immunizations because of a medical condition.

School immunization requirements exist to protect students and members of their community from serious vaccine-preventable diseases by ensuring high vaccination rates. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade are required to be immunized with DTaP/Tdap, polio, MMR, Hepatitis B, and Varicella vaccines.

School immunization rates provide insight into the vaccine coverage in communities across the state. Since immunization rates are not uniform across the state, school immunization data highlight areas that may be more susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases. These data also show the importance of maintaining high immunization rates.

Explore immunization data

The proportion of children vaccinated according to public health recommendations can help communities guide and evaluate interventions to improve vaccination coverage and prevent infections.

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Information about these data

Data were primarily collected in the fall, but immunization data are often updated throughout the year and rates (during the same school year) may be higher than reported due to additional children receiving immunizations or bringing records to school.  Also, the student body is dynamic and as students arrive and leave the school, the immunization rates are impacted.

Children are allowed a medical or religious exemption to one or more vaccines.
Children without the required number of doses of vaccine do not necessarily have an exemption on file.

Children without a record of vaccination, but with serologic proof of immunity to certain diseases (measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis b and varicella), meet school entry requirements, but may not be counted as vaccinated.          

All data are self-reported by the schools and discrepancies may exist.  For example, the percent of children with 5 doses of DTaP may be less than the percent of children meeting the series even though the series includes 5 doses of DTaP vaccine due to the spacing and age at which they received the doses.  In addition some children may still meet school entry requirements even with fewer doses reported for these same reasons.  The Immunization Program continues to work with schools to resolve discrepancies and update immunization data, when possible. 

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