Children going back to school in Pennsylvania could be walking into classrooms where as many as one out of every five classmates don’t have all the vaccines required by the state.
While many parents believe that disease outbreaks in school are rare because of vaccines, there were a record number of measles cases in the United States in 2014, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The 668 cases in 27 states was the highest number since measles were considered eliminated in 2000.
And in the 2013-2014 school year, Pennsylvania had one of the worst vaccination rates in the country for the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, according to the CDC.
State Department of Health data analyzed by PublicSource also show that, in the past eight years, measles vaccination rates for kindergarteners in most Pennsylvania counties never reached a key threshold — the point at which disease is unlikely to spread.
There was no clear trend between the state’s urban and rural areas for measles vaccination rates. They were bad in both.