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Pandemic accelerated decline in Arizona's childhood vaccination rates

Mary Altaffer
AP Photo

More than half of kindergarten classes in Arizona saw declines in students receiving routine vaccines for diseases like measles, mumps and rubella.

The Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting found that the steep drop comes after school-age kids missed years of doctor’s visits for routine care during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also come after years of declines as more parents opted out of vaccines for “personal beliefs.”

AZCIR reports that vaccination rates dropped for an estimated 60& of kindergarten classes between 2018 and 2021. Immunization rates in schools dropped by as much as 30 percentage points for certain vaccines.

The decline has put residents of all ages at heightened risk of infection from largely preventable communicable diseases.