Rate of immunized kindergarteners a steady 85 percent

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) _ State health officials say the percentage of kindergarteners with the required vaccinations needed to start school remained steady at 85 percent.

The report released Monday by the Department of Health also shows 4.7 percent of the kindergarteners have an exemption excusing them from one or more vaccinations because of medical, personal, or religions reasons.

That exemption rate increased slightly during the 2016-17 school year, compared to the previous year. It’s more than double the national average of 2 percent.

Health officials say students with complete immunizations are better protected from getting and spreading diseases that can be prevented with vaccines.

About 8 percent of kindergartners are out of compliance with requirements. Those students aren’t fully immunized, haven’t submitted an exemption, or are missing paperwork. A remaining 2 percent are getting caught up on paperwork.

Nearly 2,500 public and private schools, or 95 percent, submitted data to the state.