State childhood vaccination rate trending downwards along with national average


August is Vaccination Awareness Month and State Health Officer Dr. Joe Kanter is reminding parents to be sure their children are up to date on their immunizations before school begins. Childhood vaccination rates, in Louisiana, typically exceed the national average, but Kanter said those numbers have been trending downwards the last few years, from 97% to 94%

“Three percentage points doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’ll tell you when we’re talking about vaccines for measles, polio, etc. it really is a lot particularly when you’re right around the threshold that we are,” says Kanter.

He says a 95% immunization rate equates to herd immunity.

He credits the state’s above-average vaccination rate to awareness, broad insurance coverage, and access to immunizations.

Kanter said immunization rates for children have also dropped nationally. The interruption of the pandemic in general is one reason.

“And the anti-vac movement in this country is better organized now, better funded now, more effective now than they have been in years past and that’s a trend that’s also concerning here,” said Kanter.

For example, to prevent a measles outbreak, Kanter said the community needs to have at least a 95% vaccination rate. Some children are unable to be vaccinated due to allergies, their age, or they are immune compromised.

“Those people all rely on the protection of the community, to ensure that again a case here, a case there doesn’t become a larger outbreak. We’re teetering right now, right at that threshold,” said Kanter.

Kanter said despite Louisiana having one of the broadest vaccine exemption laws in the country, the childhood immunization rates remain above the national average.

For guidance, Kanter urges parents to speak with their child’s pediatrician about vaccinations. For more information visit



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *