Why Is Colorado Lowest In The Nation In School Immunization Rates?

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When it comes to our children and the immunizations they are required to have when enrolling in school, Colorado ranks last in the United States with low rates of immunization. We’re not talking about the COVID shots but the ones that keep you from getting the measles, mumps, polio, chicken pox and pertussis. The kind of diseases world scientists worked together to keep the masses from dying. 

So why do we rank so low here in the Rocky Mountains? The CDC attributes the drop in rate to false information being spread through social media. Let’s RISE is a CDC initiative to provide actionable strategies, resources and data to support getting all Americans back on-schedule with their routine immunizations to protect everyone from vaccine-preventable disease and disability.

The second reason has been from the school district making more exceptions for parents just to have them enroll their kids. The low enrollment factor has forced schools to drop restrictions and conditions previously enforced. With the acceptable rate being a minimum of 95 percent of students having been immunized, we find Prospect Valley and Peak (Pennington) elementaries dropping to the 94 percentile while Stevens and Wheat Ridge High more in the high 96 percentile, with kudos to Manning Middle with an almost perfect score of 98 percent.

There’s no doubt that the belief that immunization shots are tied to autism, keeping a distance from government control as well as the belief that your body has everything it needs to protect itself from epidemics, diseases and viruses. It’s no coincidence that the more liberal and open curriculum a school has, the lower the immunization rate drops. For example, the popular and in-demand Free Horizon comes in at 91 percent immunization rate and Mountain Phoenix charter at an only 69 percent of students having the basic and essential immunization protection. Mind you it is an increase of 20 percent from five years ago. If you are curious to find out how your school ranks, you can look them up on immunizecolorado.org. 

Many parents of unimmunized children are of the opinion that they will have no effect on kids that were immunized. But viruses evolve and develop inside sick patients into a new form of the disease. Not to mention that having sick students in class every day is not conducive to a healthy learning environment.

It will be interesting to see how the CDC’s efforts work in this political climate. I wonder if the support that mental health has garnered can be shared or even trigger a new effort by the PTA groups to promote and encourage families to update and participate in the CDC’s Let’s Rise initiative. In the name of fairness, we are open to every side of issues. Please forward your letters to WRgazette@gmail.com.

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