Due to the close proximity of other children, childcare centers, such as preschool or daycare, can become a breeding ground for infectious diseases. Vaccination against pertussis, chicken pox, and influenza becomes vital to ensuring these diseases do not spread from child to child, and subsequently to family members. A recent survey conducted by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital has revealed that 74 percent of parents would consider removing their children from a daycare setting if they found only one in four of their daycare classmates were not up-to-date on vaccination.

Most states require children to be vaccinated before attending daycare. However, some unvaccinated children still slip through the cracks via medical, religious, and philosophical exemptions. Among parents interviewed as part of the National Poll on Children’s Health, the majority agreed daycare supervisors should require every child to be up-to-date on vaccines before they are allowed into a setting with other children. Only one out of every 10 parents said unvaccinated children should be allowed to attend daycare.

Most parents also agreed that they should be notified if their child is entering a childcare center where they will be exposed to other children who have not been vaccinated. Sixty-six percent believe they should be notified of how many unvaccinated children will be attending daycare, while only 25 percent insisted on knowing the names of children who are not up-to-date on vaccines. Seventy-four percent of parents “agree” or “strongly agree” that daycare providers should review children’s immunization status each year.

Although very few parents were OK with allowing unvaccinated children to attend daycare without future plans to be vaccinated or a waiver from their doctor, recommendations for how to respond to this situation varied. Some parents felt the child should be excluded from the daycare until they received their vaccination, while others felt the family should be given a grace period to have their child vaccinated before exclusion should be considered.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths will be prevented among children in the past 20 years thanks to vaccination efforts. Immunization schedules for Americans under the age of 18 are published each year by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). These schedules are intended as recommendations for routine vaccines children under the age of 18 should receive annually.