An increasing number of America’s youngest children are not getting vaccinated, reports the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). That means about 100,000 children age two or younger in the United States haven’t received any shots against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles, whooping cough and rubella.
The CDC found that for a third consecutive year, the percentage of children reaching age two years without having received any vaccinations has increased gradually, from 0.9 percent for children born in 2011 to 1.3 percent for children born in 2015. A 2001 survey with a different methodology suggested the proportion of unvaccinated kids was around 0.3 percent, reports the Associated Press.
Although the current CDC study had some limitations, the trend is worrying health experts because young children are quite vulnerable to problems associated with vaccine-preventable diseases.
The reasons for why some parents aren’t vaccinating their children are not clear, and the CDC didn’t ask why parents aren’t getting their kids vaccinated. The majority who chose not to vaccinate were insured, but a significant minority didn’t have insurance. The government pays for vaccines for uninsured children, reports the Associated Press.
Fortunately, by the time U.S. children reach kindergarten, the overall vaccination coverage is better.
“Kindergarten vaccination requirements help ensure that students are fully vaccinated with age-appropriate vaccines upon school entry,” the CDC report says. “Although overall vaccination coverage is high, coverage could be improved in many states.”