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Kindergartners with exemptions from having immunizations in Maine

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Why This Indicator Matters

Kindergarten-entry vaccination requirements have played an important role in controlling vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States.  In 2019, Maine passed a law by referendum requiring school children receive vaccinations, which took effect in September 2021. The new law allows for exemptions to required vaccinations only for medical reasons and not for religious or philosophical reasons,  If more kindergartners are vaccinated the chance that disease will spread through schools and communities is lessened. Achieving a 95% or higher level of vaccinations provides more protection against the spread of diseases than lower rates.

What the data shows
The kindergarten exemption rate in October 2022 was under 1 percent- 0.9% compared to 4.6% year before the law took effect. The number of kindergarten exemptions dropped from 523 before the law, to 95 for the latest year. For the 2022-2023 school year, every county easily achieved the 95% vaccination rate and had kindergarten exemptions below 5%, with the highest rate being 2.3% in Knox County. 
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Definition and Source



Kindergartners with exemptions shows the percent of kindergarten students with a written exemption on file for medical, religious or philosophical reasons for any required vaccine. The numerator is the number of kindergartners with an exemption for any vaccine and the denominator is the number of kindergartners. Beginning in September 2021, religious and philosophical exemptions were no longer allowed.

Data Source

Maine Center for Disease Control School-Age Immunization Assessments S


The year refers to the school year where 2022 represents the 2022-2023 school year. Vaccination records are as of October 1.

The percentage of missing records for kindergarten immunization 2022-2023 is 2.0%. Maine law requires these students be excluded from schools by superintendents until records are provided.  In the latest year, 2022-2023, 11 schools had 10% or more with missing vaccination records including 7 schools in Cumberland County and one each in Androscoggin, Penobscot, Waldo and Washington Counties.

Last Updated

June 2023