Associated Press Published

West Virginia and Mississippi Toughest on Immunizations


Mississippi and West Virginia are known for their struggles with health crises. Yet when it comes to getting children vaccinated, these states don’t mess around.

A recent measles outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people has brought attention to policies in 48 states that allow parents to opt out of vaccinating their children because of their religious or personal beliefs, or both.

West Virginia and Mississippi are the only states that refuse to give those two exemptions. Separate efforts to significantly loosen those rules died in both states’ legislatures last week.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mississippi has the highest immunization rate in the country for children entering kindergarten at 99.7 percent. West Virginia is at roughly 96 percent.