Chalkbeat’s 2016 immunization database provides school-by-school data that can help parents and the public assess which schools are well protected in case of an infectious disease outbreak and which ones aren’t. (Here’s our database in Spanish)
Like last year, the database includes information for schools in Colorado’s 30 largest districts — which enroll more than 80 percent of the state’s students. However, there’s also a key difference that we hope will make the database even more useful. This year, we have included each school’s immunization rate — the percentage of students who are fully immunized — instead of just its exemption and compliance rate.
(See this companion story highlighting immunization trends and coming rule changes, and this collection of charts showing which kids are getting vaccinated and which ones aren’t.)
Here’s more about the terminology used in the database:
Immunization rate — The percentage of students who are fully immunized. Herd immunity — the protection from disease outbreaks offered when a large majority of a population is vaccinated — usually requires immunization rates of 90-95 percent.
Exemption rate — The percentage of students whose parents have opted them out of some or all required shots. In Colorado, there are three types of exemptions: medical, religious, and personal belief. The majority of parents who excuse their children from immunizations use personal belief exemptions. High exemption rates—around 10 percent or higher—can have serious implications when there are outbreaks of contagious diseases like measles and whooping cough.
Compliance rate —The percentage of students who have gotten all required immunizations, have signed exemption forms, or are “in process” of getting up to date on their immunizations. High compliance rates indicate that schools are doing a good job collecting immunization and exemption paperwork, and ensuring that students are complying with state law.
Note: This database includes information for more than 1,200 public Colorado schools, but data may be missing for certain schools, charter schools in particular. That’s because some districts didn’t include charter schools when they provided Chalkbeat with their school-by-school rates.