State health officials concerned by drop in pre-teen vaccine rates

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Washington state’s Department of Health (DOH) is reporting concerning drops in 2020 vaccination rates among preteens.

While 4- to 6-year-olds saw a drop in vaccine rates by around 2-3 percent, 11- to 12-year olds saw more significant decreases.

That includes an 11 percent decrease in the Tdap vaccine, which combats tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. A dose of Tdap vaccine is required to enter seventh grade in the state.

In the same age group, the meningococcal vaccine rate dropped by 8.4 percent, and the HPV vaccine — which prevents several types of cancer — dropped by 5.6%.

There was also a 6 percent decrease in 11- to 12-year-olds receiving the “1:1:1 series,” which includes a dose of Tdap, one or more doses of the meningococcal vaccine as well as one or more doses of the HPV vaccine.

“I’m concerned about how many of our Washington kids are vulnerable to serious but preventable diseases,” DOH Acting Assistant Secretary Michele Roberts said in a news release. “We need to get children caught up now on vaccines they missed. They are headed back to school soon, and flu activity often picks up in the fall, so let’s get them protected before they’re exposed.”

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