Q. How can I find out if children in my child’s class are vaccinated?
A. Parents have the right to question safety and health procedures at their children’s schools. How are children dismissed at the end of the day? How is the school prepared to handle a fire or an unwanted intruder? What type of supervision occurs on the bus or playground? Those questions have answers that schools are typically able to easily share as matters of policy. Unfortunately, when it comes to vaccination rates, the same is not often true.
However, in California the state health department has created a novel tool for parents that allows them to see immunization and exemption rates in schools throughout the state. As a part of Shots for School, the tool lets parents enter an address, zip code or school name and view that institution’s immunization rates for uptake of different mandated vaccines, the exemption rate and the percent of students with all required vaccines doses. The data is collected from child care facilities as well as kindergarten and seventh grade vaccination records.
Parents interested in the immunization rates in their children’s schools can check directly with the school or their local health department to see if this information is available. It may also be worth checking if your state would consider offering a similar program to the one in California.
Shots for school
Editor’s note: A reader subsequently shared with us the following resources for people in states other than California: About Pediatrics: School vaccination and exemption rates; USA Today immunization report.