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Public Health - Seattle & King County

School immunization levels in King County

Children must be immunized against certain vaccine preventable diseases before attending a licensed child care or school according to Washington state law. Schools vary in levels of immunization because parents and guardians can exempt their children from vaccinations.

When a high percentage of the population is vaccinated, it is difficult for infectious diseases to spread because there are not many people who can be infected. Even those who are not eligible for certain vaccines—such as infants, pregnant women, or immunocompromised individuals—get some protection because the spread of contagious disease is contained. This is known as "community (herd) immunity". The immunization level needed for herd immunity ranges from 83 – 94%, depending on the disease.

Find the level of immunization at a King County school

The searchable maps below show the most recent immunization data reported by each school to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). The size of each school dot represents the number of students enrolled and each school is color-coded based on the percent of students who are 'complete', which means they received required immunizations for their age/grade or have given proof of acquired immunity. This information is based on what schools report and might include errors. For example, an invalid dose of a vaccine might not be identified as such so the student is reported as 'complete' on required immunizations.

Search Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine coverage rates among kindergarteners Search completion rates in all King County schools, K-12 for school year 2015-16

Note that the percent of exemptions for certain diseases are only those that filed a certificate of exemption.


Search kindergarten coverage rates

Search kindergarten coverage rates for school year 2015-16

This map shows the location of all public and private schools with kindergartens in King County. The data are based upon the most recent immunization report submitted to DOH. Each school is color-coded based on the total percent of kindergartners who are 'complete', which means they received all the required immunizations for their age/grade or have given proof of acquired immunity.


Search 6th grade coverage rates

Search 6th grade coverage rates for school year 2015-16

This map shows the location of all public and private schools with 6th grades in King County, regardless of whether or not the school submitted an annual immunization report to DOH. Each school is color coded based on the total percent of 6th graders who are 'complete', which means they received all the required immunizations for their age/grade or have given proof of acquired immunity.

What can I do about low immunization levels at my child's school or child care facility?

  • Make sure your child is up-to-date on all recommended immunizations.
  • Share information about the benefits of immunization with peers in school, child care, parent groups and social media.
  • Contact organizations such as WithinReach, home of the Immunization Action Coalition of Washington and VaxNorthwest, to learn more about immunization promotion in Washington state.
  • Adults need vaccines, too! Check with your doctor to find out which vaccines you need to stay healthy.

About school immunization requirements

Parents and guardians meet school immunization requirement by filling out and turning in a Certificate of Immunization Status form showing their child has the required vaccinations (or that they have already had the illness and are now immune). If parents and guardians choose to exempt their child from one or more of the required vaccines, they must fill out a Certificate of Exemption form. In 2011, the Washington State Legislature passed a law that changed the process for getting an immunization exemption. The law says that if a parent or guardian wants to exempt their child from school or childcare immunization requirements, they must first get information about the benefits and risks of immunization from a licensed health care provider.

For additional information, refer to the King County School Immunization Assessment Report, 2014-16.

Per state law (WAC 246-105-060,) all public and private schools and licensed preschools must report the immunization status of students by November 1st each year.


Definitions

Complete: Percent of students in the school who meet school entry vaccination requirements for the student's age and grade, as reported by the school.

Conditional: Percent of students in the school who do not meet school entry requirements for the student's age and grade (e.g. they are missing one or more required vaccines), but are within 30 days of school entry or are making satisfactory progress towards meeting the requirements, as reported by the school. Students with conditional status can attend school or child care for a limited time until they finish their paperwork. From the time they get notified that their child is on conditional status, parents or guardians have 30 days to get the child vaccinated, show a record of past vaccination, or exempt their child for the missing vaccine.

Out-of-compliance: Percent of students in the school who do not meet school entry vaccination requirements for the student's age and grade, as reported by the school.

Exempt: Percent of students in the school who have at least one exemption, as reported by the school. A student may claim an exemption to immunization for medical, religious, or personal reasons. In addition, a student may be exempt for any or all required vaccines, as indicated on a completed and signed Certificate of Exemption (COE) on file at the school. Note: When students have exemption forms on file at school and an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease occurs, they may be sent home until the outbreak is over, until they bring in their vaccination records, or until they get vaccinated.

Diphtheria and Tetanus (DT): Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection usually affecting the nose and throat. Tetanus is a serious bacterial disease that that causes painful muscle spasms and can lead to death. Although now rare in the United States and Europe, these diseases are still common in developing countries where immunizations are not given routinely. The best way to prevent these diseases is through vaccinations. These vaccines include DTaP, Tdap, and Td.

Pertussis: Whooping cough – or pertussis – is a highly contagious and potentially serious respiratory infection caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria. Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing fits which often make it hard to breathe. Severe pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than 1 year of age. In addition to DTaP vaccine for younger children, Tdap vaccine is a booster shot that helps protect adolescents and teens from the same diseases (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis).

Polio: Poliovirus is a contagious viral illness that can cause paralysis, difficulty breathing and sometimes death. Polio has been eliminated in the United States thanks to widespread polio vaccination. Currently, the disease remains endemic in three countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Children should receive four doses of polio vaccine at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, and a booster dose at 4-6 years.

Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR): Measles is an extremely contagious viral disease that is widespread in many parts of the world. There are still new cases of measles in the United States, with most involving unvaccinated people who were exposed while traveling abroad. People who are infected while traveling and return to the United States can spread the disease to others who are not vaccinated. Measles can be a serious illness in all age groups. However, children younger than 5 years of age and adults older than 20 years of age are more likely to suffer from measles complications, such as ear infections (which can result in permanent hearing loss), pneumonia and swelling of the brain (encephalitis). MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent measles, mumps and rubella infections. MMR vaccine should be routinely given when children are 12-15 months old, and a second dose should be given when they are 4-6 years old.

Hepatitis B (Hep B): Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and causes both acute and chronic liver disease. While most HBV infections occur in adolescents and adults, the consequences of infection in early childhood have long lasting and serious consequences, including chronic liver disease, liver cancer and death. All children should get their first dose of hepatitis B vaccine at birth, followed by two more doses. Older children and adolescents through 18 years of age who did not get the vaccine when they were younger should also be vaccinated.

Varicella: Varicella (also known as Chickenpox) is a viral infection that causes an itchy, blister-like rash. Chickenpox is highly contagious to people who haven't had the disease or have not been vaccinated against it. Although normally a mild illness, Chickenpox can be serious and can lead to complications such as bacterial infections, pneumonia and swelling of the brain (encephalitis). CDC recommends two doses of chickenpox vaccine for children, adolescents, and adults. Two doses of the vaccine are about 98% effective at preventing chickenpox.

Resources


Questions? Contact Public Health's Immunization Program at vaccineinfo@kingcounty.gov or 206-296-4774.