Up to five percent of Muskogee’s kindergartners are not vaccinated against common and potentially lethal childhood illnesses, according to a study released by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Schools are well-known as great places for the spread of diseases from one person to another, and most require children to be vaccinated against the worst diseases, including diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, hepatitis a, hepatitis b, measles, mumps, rubella, polio and varicella (chicken pox).
Most of Muskogee’s public schools did not answer the health service’s request for the information, but of those that did, the picture is bleak. Exemptions to vaccination requirements can be granted if the child is certified to be allergic, have specific contraindications and the exemption is signed by a physician. Some religious exemptions are also granted.
- Hilldale Elementary reported 95.69 percent of its kindergartners were vaccinated, while 3.4 percent had an exemption on file.
- Benjamin Franklin STEM Academy reported only 90 percent of its students were vaccinated, with 9.1 percent having an exemption on file.
- Sadler Arts Academy reported 93.18 percent vaccinated, with 4.5 percent having exemptions on file.
- Creek Elementary reported 95 percent vaccinated with 1.7 percent exempted.
- Fort Gibson reported 98.29 percent vaccinated with 1.7 percent exempted.
- Braggs reported only 84 percent vaccinated with 7.7 percent exempted
- Midway and Oktaha reported 100 percent vaccinated and no exemptions.
- Warner reported 88.71 percent vaccinated and no exemptions
- Webbers Falls reported 90 percent vaccinated and no exemptions
- Porum reported 94 percent vaccinated and no exemptions.
- Pershing did not complete the survey.
- Cherokee did not complete the survey.
- Irving did not complete the survey.
- Tony Goetz did not complete the survey.
- Whitier did not complete the survey.
- Grant Foreman did not complete the survey.
- Oklahoma School for the Blind was exempted from the survey to protect student privacy because fewer than 10 kindergartners are enrolled.
Ninety-four percent of all schools in the state participated in the survey, while most of Muskogee’s elementary schools did not.
Overall, the study indicates the number of kindergarten students up to date on all vaccines increased by 1 percent from 2017-18. Up to date rates for MMR, Hep B, and Hep A all increased when compared to last year while DTaP and Varicella rates decreased. The number of students with record of exemption for any vaccination increased by 0.2 percent from 2.4 percent in 2017-18, to 2.6 percent in 2018-19. The majority of these exemptions were approved for non-medical reasons such as personal or religious reasons.