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New Website Gives Vaccination And Exemption Rates In Colorado Schools And Child Care Facilities

By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) - There is a new tool for parents to check vaccination rates in Colorado schools and day care facilities.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment now offers the school and child care immunization data website. The numbers represent nearly a million children.

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We all know kids despise shots, but the state requires them. All students attending Colorado schools and licensed child cares must be vaccinated against certain diseases, unless an exemption is filed.

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Amy Smeester (credit: CBS)

"I imagine our school has a pretty high vaccination rate, but I'd be interested to know what it was," said Amy Smeester, the mother of 7th grader Bella.

Now, she can find out.

On the new website, Smeester can look up her school's vaccination rate. Data is provided by the schools and day cares. Green dots show the most in compliance with immunization rules. Red dots indicate the least.

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Dr. Larry Wolk, Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, says the data shows the majority of students have been immunized, but there are parts of Colorado where many parents have claimed exemptions.

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Dr. Larry Wolk (credit: CBS)

"North of Denver in the Boulder area, for example, further north in the Fort Collins area, further south in the Colorado Springs area," said Wolk.

Wolk says vaccine preventable diseases like mumps, measles and whooping cough are serious.

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"Severe enough to cause hospitalization and even death," he added.

Mother of three, Nancy Buchanan, said the data could change her mind.

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Nancy Buchanan (credit: CBS)

"If the majority of people aren't vaccinating their children, I would probably think twice about going to that school," said Buchanan.

Wolk said the information is especially critical for parents of children with weakened immune systems.

The vaccination rates are facts they can consider when choosing a school for their child.

LINK: School And Child Care Immunization Data Website

Kathy Walsh is CBS4's Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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