OSDH Official Details Vaccination Rates In Okla. Schools

Friday, August 23rd 2019, 9:47 am
By: News 9

With school now in full swing, most students and parents are making sure they have everything prepared. That, of course, includes your basics like clothes, lunches, books and for the most part vaccines.

"People of other generations have had mumps, measles, chicken pox and several diseases that are preventable today," said Kellie Clark.

Clark works for the Oklahoma State Department of Health's immunization services. She said that heading into a new school year, the majority of Oklahoma students are up to date on shots.

"For all kindergartners in the state of Oklahoma, over 90 percent are fully protected from all immunizations," said Clarke.

For 2019 , Clark said there is actually around a one percent increase of immunizations from last year. At the same time, there is also a small increase of those who want to opt out of vaccines. 

According to Oklahoma law, parents of students in public schools can opt out for religious reasons, health concerns and finally overall parental concern. Clark said right now, this number is still minuscule at around 2.6 percent.

For those who aren't vaccinated Clark said the idea of herd immunity will help them avoid contracting different diseases.

"Herd immunity is a way you can protect the herd, so to speak, for the community by immunizing the majority of people," said Clark.

She said a population needs to be around 95 percent vaccinated for this to work. Officials with the Oklahoma County Health Department agree.

"The fact that they can't pass on these diseases helps protect those who may not be ale to receive vaccines," said Kerri Stewart of the Oklahoma County Health Department.