Special Report

States With the Highest and Lowest Non-COVID 19 Vaccination Rates

Before the coronavirus pandemic, vaccines rarely dominated the news as much as COVID-19 vaccines have recently. Though some oppose the COVID-19 vaccine mandates, it’s been over 100 years since states began to require immunizations for certain populations, most often school children. Childhood vaccines have saved countless lives and protected children for over a century.

 To identify the states with the highest and lowest vaccination rates, 24/7 Tempo reviewed vaccine data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data includes the percentage of vaccination coverage for the combined 7-vaccine series among children up to kindergarten age in each state for the 2019-2020 school year. The series includes several vaccines that protect against such diseases as measles, pertussis, hepatitis B, and polio.

A little over 95% of kindergarteners and children entering child care during the 2019-2020 school year were up to date with required and strongly encouraged vaccinations. This is higher than in previous years but a jump in measles cases in 2019 resulted in immunizations soaring. The average vaccination rate varies from more than 98% in some states to less than 87% in others. 

Before vaccines, children — and adults — regularly contracted serious infectious diseases that are now a distant memory. The paralytic disease polio was eradicated in the U.S. by 1979, and one of the most terrible diseases in history — smallpox — no longer exists outside the laboratory.

Several vaccines are widely available in the United States, including against some of the most aggressive contagions that are particularly dangerous to children such as measles. Measles was a serious cause of concern in the U.S. and Europe in 2019 as several cases were detected, mostly among the unvaccinated. These are the 20 worst epidemics and pandemics in history

Most U.S. states require childhood vaccinations before children can enter the public school system, but they also allow exemptions for parents based on religious or philosophical beliefs.

Click here for the states with the highest and lowest non-COVID 19 vaccination rates
Click here for our detailed methodology