Public health officials in five of Colorado's most populous counties are trying to make a dent in the state's low measles vaccination rate, targeting parents of kindergarteners as they warn rates are too low to prevent an outbreak.
In Denver County, the parents of about 800 children ages 4-6 got letters notifying them their kids need measles shots. Jefferson County health authorities have created a radio ad cautioning that kids who aren't vaccinated could miss out on at least three weeks of school.
And Tri-County Health Department sent letters this fall to schools in Douglas, Adams and Arapahoe counties in an attempt to get schools to focus on vaccines.
The statewide average vaccination rate for MMR — the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine — among kindergarteners is 87.4%, among the lowest in the nation. In Denver and Douglas counties, it's even lower at 85-86%.
The rate recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is 95%, high enough to provide so-called "herd protection" for those who are unable to get vaccinated because of organ transplants or other health issues.
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