Majority of kindergartners received vaccines for new school year

Federal health officials on Thursday said that most kindergartners in the United States received their recommended vaccines for measles and other diseases during the 2011-12 school year but that unvaccinated clusters continue to pose a health risk.

"Although statewide levels of vaccination coverage are at or very near target levels, locally low vaccination coverage for extremely transmissible diseases such as measles remains a threat to public health," the CDC said, according to Reuters.

According to the CDC, more than 95 percent of kindergartners received vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, polio and hepatitis B, Reuters reports.

A total of 94.8 percent of kindergartners received their measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, while 93.2 percent received the recommended two doses of chickenpox vaccine. Federal guidelines, however, call for a target of 95 percent or higher vaccination rates.

Pockets were found, however, where children were not vaccinated or where there was a low rate of coverage.

"It is of concern when we have these communities in the United States where there's enough people who have made this decision [not to vaccinate] that if the measles virus is imported from overseas, that it could actually spread and cause an outbreak," Dr. Melinda Wharton, the deputy director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said, according to Reuters.