Children's vaccination rates in Minnesota continue to fall, MDH data show

A paediatrician examines a one-year-old girl with a stethoscope as part of a paediatric vaccination against meningococcus. Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB (Photo by Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Children's immunization rates in Minnesota continue to get worse, according to Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) data. 

In 2019, MDH said 69.2% of 2-year-olds in Minnesota were up to date for recommended immunizations. By 2023, 63% of 2-year-olds were current on their immunizations. This is also a trend across the United States, MDH notes, which is troubling, especially as cases of measles — a contagious disease that's preventable by a vaccine — have occurred in many states, including Minnesota

"Getting babies recommended immunizations by 2 years of age is the best way to protect them," said Jessica Hancock-Allen, director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Division at MDH. "We know families are busy, but we also know they want what’s best for their children, so this is a reminder that it’s never too late to get children caught up on the vaccines they need for protection against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases."

Next week (April 22-29) is National Infant Immunization Week, and MDH is using it to remind families to get children current on their vaccines, especially those they may have missed during the COVID-19 pandemic when families may have been unable to keep up with well-child visits. MDH says vaccines help reduce the spread of infectious diseases, and without the protection from immunizations children are more likely to get measles, RSV, whopping cough and other preventable diseases. 

MDH is encouraging families to take these steps during National Infant Immunization Week:

  • Check your child's immunization record to see what vaccines they may need
  • Contact your child's doctor to schedule a well-child visit and vaccines

There are clinics that offer free or low-cost vaccines for children if your child doesn't have health insurance or if their insurance does not cover all the costs.