KALISPELL — Flathead County health officials say that measles vaccination numbers are down for kindergartners.
Infectious disease supervisor Lisa Dennison says the county has concerns over declining vaccination rates due to measles outbreaks across the country. While Flathead County has not had any measles outbreaks, the county should be around 95% vaccinated and currently only 87.7% are.
Dennison says lots of parents don't vaccinate their children due to concerns over negative side effects. However, Dennison says those side effects have been de-bunked.
Students are required to have two doses of the measles vaccine before attending school. If students aren't vaccinated, Dennison says this could affect their school attendance.
"If we were to have a measles case in Flathead County, any of those kids who are under vaccinated who are not up to date with their measles vaccine they will be required to be out of school until the outbreak in that school is declared over. Which at a minimum can be twenty one days."
Dennison says students with religious exemptions to vaccines will also be required to stay home if an outbreak were to occur. Under-vaccinated children will also not be able to attend any other school or school events.