Routine vaccinations drop among U.S. kindergartners for the third year in a row

The percentage of U.S. kindergartners who’ve received standard childhood vaccines took a small but notable dip into the 2021-2022 school year, health officials said Thursday, amid disruptions related to Covid-19 and fears that anti-vaccine sentiment stirred up by the pandemic could be spreading to other shots.

Vaccinations among children remain high, but the trend — with coverage dropping from about 95% in the 2019-2020 school year to 94% in 2020-2021 to 93% in 2021-2022, according to the data released Thursday — has health officials concerned. Having that rate of kindergartners vaccinated against measles, for example, means that at least 250,000 kindergarteners could be unprotected.

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