Martin M. Looney

Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

An Advocate for Us

May 3, 2019

Legislative Leaders React to DPH School Immunization Report
Low vaccine rates at more than 100 schools

House and Senate leadership reacted today to the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) release of data on the immunization rates for the state’s public and private schools. DPH data shows that 108 Connecticut schools fall under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended 95 percent immunization rate for MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccines in kindergartners.

“Today’s data from the state Department of Public Health bears out what many of us feared,” said Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). “The immunization level is dangerously low in a significant number of schools and communities putting the public’s health at risk. This is a matter of grave public health concern.”

“Ensuring that our schools are safe, healthy learning environments for our children is an ongoing responsibility,” said Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin/Southington). “Public health is always top priority, and when there are signs it is being compromised, it can’t be ignored.”

“We have seen public health crises across the country due to a lack of vaccinations,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). “The newly released immunization data demonstrates that parts of our state are possibly at risk of an outbreak of certain communicable diseases. We owe it to our children to consider any and all possible solutions to this potential crisis.”

“These numbers are shocking,” said House Majority Leader Matt Ritter (D-Hartford). “The more students who are vaccinated, the safer a school is from an outbreak of measles or other vaccine-preventable disease.”

Outbreaks are less likely to occur at schools where high numbers of students are immunized. “Herd” immunity is achieved when the vaccination rate in school is high enough to protect unvaccinated children – the CDC says that number is 95-percent.

According to the CDC, schools are a leading venue for the transmission of vaccine-preventable disease, and contagious school-age children can further spread disease to their families and communities.