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Fewer Connecticut students got school-required vaccines during the first year of COVID

John Amis

The number of students who failed to get school mandated vaccinations in Connecticut grew during the first year of the pandemic.

According to data released this week by the state Department of Public Health, immunization data collected in fall 2020, when most schools were closed due to COVID-19, found about 2% of kindergarten students had not received the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. That number is higher than an eight-year average of 1.2%.

The data does not include the COVID-19 vaccine, which is not required.

State health officials acknowledge there were challenges in scheduling in-person medical appointments to receive school-required vaccines for children in pre-k, kindergarten and seventh grade during the pandemic.

“By releasing this school immunization data, we want to remind parents and the public of the importance of all vaccines, which help make schools safer and reduce the risks associated with these preventable diseases,” State Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani said in a statement.

“High vaccination rates protect not only vaccinated children but also those who cannot or have not been vaccinated and this is what is known as herd immunity,” she said. “Schools that achieve herd immunity reduce the risk of outbreaks. High vaccination rates at schools are especially important for medically fragile children who depend on herd immunity for their health and well-being.”

The state also released data for religious and medical exemptions for school vaccinations, which remained steady at 2.3% in all grades since the year before COVID-19. A law went into effect last year repealing new religious exemptions for vaccines in schools.

Check local school districts here:

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.