Colorado ranks last nationwide for kindergarten vaccination rates and well below the 95 percent needed to achieve herd immunity.
What is herd immunity? Many people are not able to get vaccines, such as babies or those with compromised immune systems. When a population reaches a certain vaccination rate, fewer people will get sick and spread diseases, protecting those who are unable to get vaccines themselves.
In 2017, 23,228 children attended Colorado schools without protection from one or more immunizations.
Low vaccination rates put vulnerable community members, such as infants too young to receive vaccinations, elderly members of our community, or those with compromised immune systems, at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases.
Measles cases have reached a 25 year high, providing a stark reminder of the importance vaccinations provide in public health.
Hospital and emergency department charges to treat children in Colorado for vaccine-preventable diseases totaled more than $55 million in 2017. Actual costs, considering the costs of doctors’ office visits, medication, lost wages and decreased productivity, are much higher.
Colorado is one of only 17 states that allow parents to exempt their children from immunizations required for child care facilities and schools due to their personal beliefs.