Pediatric vaccinations decline in Minnesota amid COVID-19, parent hesitancy


January 13, 2023

Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

Most children in Minnesota are up to date on recommended pediatric vaccinations by kindergarten, but the state's rates declined and were below national averages in the 2021-2022 school year.

Immunizations declined among kindergartners entering Minnesota schools last year, when concerns about COVID-19 vaccines carried over into hesitancy about shots to protect kids against measles and other infectious diseases.

Only 89% of Minnesota kindergartners were vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella in the 2021-2022 school year, below the national rate of 93.5% - the lowest in a decade, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday. At least 3.7% of Minnesota parents filed vaccine exemptions for kindergartners, which exceeded the national average and was nearly a full percentage point higher than the 2020-2021 school year.

"This is alarming and should be a call to action for all of us," said Dr. Sean O'Leary, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Infectious Diseases. He noted that the nation's weakened vaccination shield has allowed measles outbreaks in Minnesota and other states and the emergence of the polio virus in New York.


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