Updated data show that 91.6% of K-12 students in Snohomish County have completed immunization requirements, which is just over 110,000 of the county’s 120,204 students.
Last week, the Washington State Department of Health updated its school immunization data dashboard, where you can see more detailed information, including for schools and districts.
“Complete” immunization means a student has documentation of immunity for all diseases for which it is required under state law. That includes chickenpox, measles, mumps, diphtheria, pneumococcal disease, German measles/rubella, polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, and whopping cough/pertussis. All of these are contagious and potentially severe diseases that can cause disability or death. Immunization is the best protection.
The immunization rate for Snohomish County students is very similar to the statewide rate and is about the same as it was two years ago. Though we’re glad to see that rates aren’t down from where they were in 2019-20, we’d much rather see an increase in the proportion of K-12 students who are vaccinated.
Higher rates of immunization protect not only individuals, but those around them. Communities with higher immunization rates are less likely to experience outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, and more likely to be able to curb the spread if there were a case.
For kindergarten students specifically, just shy of 90% have completed immunization requirements. Rates have been even lower in recent years for children who are not yet school age. Preschool-age age children often spend time in child care or around others for sports, activities, or gatherings. Even if they aren’t in school yet, they are potentially exposed to illnesses. However, a statewide report found that coverage for recommended vaccines among preschool-age students declined statewide – including in Snohomish County – between 2019 and 2021. It’s important that young children get in for vaccinations on the recommended schedule for birth through 6 years old.
Parents or guardians whose children will soon be entering child care or school should schedule a wellness visit with their children’s healthcare provider and make sure they are up-to-date on immunizations.
There are other vaccinations for children that are not required by state law but are strongly recommended. These include annual flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines for ages 6 months and older, and the HPV vaccines for preteens or teens.
Learn more at www.snohd.org/immunizations. If you have questions about your child’s immunization history, or concerns about their health, please talk with your healthcare provider.