MMWR News Synopsis

Friday, April 22, 2022


Vaccination Coverage with Selected Vaccines and Exemption Rates Among Children in Kindergarten — United States, 2020–21 School Year

CDC Media Relations

New data published by CDC show the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on routine childhood immunization. CDC analyzed data collected by state and local immunization programs on school-entry vaccination coverage among kindergartners in 47 states and DC, as well as exemptions for kindergartners in 48 states and DC, and provisional enrollment and grace-period status for kindergartners in 28 states for the 2020–2021 school year. During the 2020–2021 school year, national vaccination coverage dropped from 95% to below 94%. This amounts to an additional 35,000 children across the U.S. entering kindergarten without documentation of complete vaccination against common diseases. Moreover, nearly 400,000 fewer children entered kindergarten than expected. These children, too, might not be up to date on their routine vaccinations, further evidence of how pandemic-related disruptions to health care and education could have lingering consequences for school-age children. Routine vaccination coverage remains high and there is an opportunity to recover ground lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. With most schools back to in-person learning, extra effort is needed to get students caught up on missed vaccinations, maintain high levels of routine childhood vaccination rates, and ensure equitable coverage to help protect children, their families, and their communities against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Poisoning Associated with Consumption of a Homemade Medicinal Liquor — Chongqing, China, 2018

CDC Media Relations

If misused or not prepared correctly, Aconitum, a traditional Chinese medicine, also known as wolfbane, can be deadly. The tubers and roots of the Aconitum plant species are used to prepare traditional Chinese medicinal drinks; fatal Aconitum poisonings resulting from improper production occur every year. On May 3, 2018, 15 cases of poisoning, including five deaths, were reported among people who attended a birthday luncheon at a hotel in China. Poisoning was most likely caused by homemade unlabeled medicinal liquor containing extremely high concentrations of toxic Aconitum alkaloids. The host of the luncheon had made the liquor and also died after drinking it; therefore, details of how it was prepared were not available. However, it’s suspected that the host may have mistaken poisonous Aconitum root for another nontoxic plant root. Public prevention strategies should focus on increasing awareness that Aconitum is toxic and the identification of similar plants, strengthening existing regulation of the sale of raw materials containing Aconitum alkaloids, and appropriately labeling homemade products.

Previously Released: Hospitalizations of Children Aged 5–11 Years with Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 — COVID-NET, 14 States, March 2020–February 2022

CDC Media Relations

Notes from the Field
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CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.

Page last reviewed: April 22, 2022