Journalists around the country track vaccination rates

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

As many are reporting, the measles outbreak has parents and officials questioning state laws that allow unvaccinated children to attend school, under religious or philosophical exemptions. Forty-eight states allow religious exemptions, according to this map from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

News organizations are compiling interactive maps, databases and other widgets to show vaccination rates by state and, sometimes county. Some allow searching for specific schools.

USA Today has searchable data on exemptions in 13 states, with more to come. The states it covers include California, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia. (Update: As of Feb. 9, it has added Arkansas, Georgia, Washington and Wisconsin.)

Notably, Mississippi has been widely cited as having one of the strictest vaccination laws, requiring “all children in public and private schools to have certain immunizations, including for chickenpox, hepatitis B and measles,” according to The New York Times. For the 2013-14 academic year, Mississippi reported that its “measles, mumps and rubella vaccination rate was about five percentage points higher than the national median of 94.7 percent.”

The Wall Street Journal has maps of MMR vaccination rates by state for 2013, as well as percentages of kids with nonmedical exemptions by state and a link to the CDC data in CSV format. NPR has a map of “Estimated Share Of Kindergarten Students With Nonmedical Vaccination Exemptions (2013-14)” using the CDC data. And MedCity News has a map showing the “Percent of children aged 19 to 35 months who have received the full series of CDC-recommended vaccines.”

Here are more maps and databases – please add others you know about in the comments section and I’ll update this post.

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