Health Department Releases the 2018 Schools Immunization Reports
The Polk County Health Department has released the 2018 edition of the Polk County Schools Immunization Reports. These reports contain information from immunization audits conducted in 150 public and non-public schools within Polk County between October – December 2018.
“Our school immunization reports show that overall our immunization rates remain high,” said Helen Eddy, Polk County Health Department Director. “However, the number of religious exemption certificates continue to increase every year. In comparison with 2012, the number of students receiving this type of immunization exemption has grown 128% from 2012 to 2018.”
In addition to religious exemptions, the latest immunization report illustrates there were 2,614 students not fully immunized in Polk County at the time of the audit. In 2017, the number of students not fully immunized was 2,751. The percentages of students not fully immunized have decreased in six of the 10 school districts in comparison with 2017. The number of provisional and invalid certificates have also decreased yearly. A provisional certificate is if the student is a transfer student, or if the student has received at least one dose of each required immunization but has not completed all of the required immunizations. An invalid certificate is if there is no immunization information at all on the student, if any certificate or exemption has expired with no updated immunization records, or if the student is missing an immunization that is a state-required immunization to enter school.
The Polk County Immunization Reports highlight the number of immunization exemptions and certificates of students enrolled in Polk County schools and the level of risk by school in case of an immunization-preventable disease outbreak. They also provide an overview of immunization trends among districts and schools in the county.
These reports also provide a series of recommendations for schools that can be put in practice to minimize potential risk of outbreaks. These recommendations include promoting immunization among employees, encouraging families to immunize their children, promoting methods to decrease transmission, reducing provisional certificates, and promoting monitoring for outbreaks.
This year’s immunization audit was conducted using a newly created app in an effort to create a more efficient data intake and reporting process. The app created by the Polk County IT Department. Copies of the immunization report can be found on our website at www.polkcountyiowa.gov/health/reports-data/school-immunization-reports/.