In 2022, about 93% of US kindergarteners had received state-required vaccinations for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR); diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis (DTaP); polio; and varicella (also known as chickenpox), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another 2.6% received an exemption from one or more required vaccines.
Those four vaccines are part of the “combined 7 series'' of immunizations, which also includes vaccines for Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b, and pneumococcal disease. The CDC recommends that all children get these vaccines by age 2. Data shows that 76% of children born in 2019 received the combined 7 series vaccines by the time they turned 3.
Of the other vaccines commonly given to children under 18, 62% of 13 to 17-year-olds were up to date with human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, and 89% had received at least one dose of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY).
More than half of children under 18 — 56% — got a flu vaccine during the 2022-2023 flu season. And as of June 2023, 32% of children under 18 had completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines, while 7.1% were considered up to date with COVID boosters.
How have childhood vaccination rates changed in the past decade?
In the 2019–2020 school year, 95% of children had received vaccinations for MMR, DTaP, polio, and varicella. In the 2020–2021 school year, that number decreased to 94%, and it decreased again in 2021–2022 to 93%. The CDC attributes these yearly decreases to “COVID-19-related disruptions.”
Meanwhile, the proportion of students receiving non-medical exemptions to one or more required vaccines has increased. In the 2021–2022 school year, 2.3% of kindergarteners received non-medical exemptions to vaccines. Ten years earlier, that figure was 1.4%. The share of students receiving medical exemptions has remained stable at 0.2%. All states allow students to receive a medical exemption when a child’s medical condition prevents them from receiving a vaccine.
Which diseases are children vaccinated against the most?
Polio has consistently been the most common vaccine administered to children over the past decade, with nearly 95% of children born in 2018 and 2019 receiving the polio vaccine by age 3. MMR, Varicella, and Hepatitis B all had coverage rates above 93%. All 50 states require vaccinations for polio, varicella, DTaP, measles and rubella. Iowa is the only state without a mumps vaccine requirement, but it does require measles and rubella vaccinations.
A smaller share remained up to date on their COVID vaccines: That figure declined across the first half of 2023, from 8.9% in January 2023 to 7.1% in June 2023. To be considered up to date, children under 4 years old need multiple doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including one dose of an updated vaccine. Anyone 5 or older needs one dose of an updated COVID vaccine to be up to date.
How have flu vaccination rates for children changed since 2020?
Flu vaccine rates for children have decreased since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to the CDC.
In April 2020, 62% of children under 18 had received flu shots for that year’s flu season. That number decreased to 57% in April 2021, then to 56% in April 2022 and 55% in 2023.