Idaho's Immunizations Are Low — And Sometimes, Very Low

Sep 28, 2015

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare wants to see school immunization rates improve to 90 percent. In 2014=15, only 36 districts and seven charter schools hit this threshold for kindergartners. Immunization number for 2015-16 won't be released until March.
Credit Idaho Education News

Child immunization rates are low in the silver mining community of Wallace, and school district superintendent Bob Ranells is well aware of it.

There is no simple, single explanation.

School nurses are expected to manually load data for every individual student — and, as Ranells puts it, nurses went into their profession to help people, not to sit in front of a computer.

Other forces are at work. “Our people aren’t the greatest fans of government in this neck of the woods,” Ranells said.

The bottom line: Only 54 percent of Wallace’s kindergartners, first-graders and seventh-graders were considered “adequately immunized,” according to 2014 Department of Health and Welfare records. Only four of Idaho’s 115 school districts had a lower rate.

Immunization rates | Create infographics

State health officials are concerned about pockets of low immunization rates that leave children susceptible to contagious diseases such as measles or whooping cough. But in Wallace, and similar communities, the numbers tell a complicated story.

Click here to read this entire story from Idaho Education News.