ST. LOUIS — Missouri health officials say the state has the lowest immunization rate in the country for a series of seven vaccines recommended for toddlers.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says 56 percent of children ages 19 months to 35 months had received all of the recommended early childhood vaccinations last year.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the national average for receiving the diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, measles, hepatitis B and chickenpox was 71 percent.
Health department spokesman Kit Wagar says the state has to do a better job of educating parents about the safety of the immunizations.
Contributing to the state's low numbers was the addition of a vaccine for that protects children younger than 2 against certain types of meningitis, pneumonia and blood infections.