Study: Many summer camps don't require childhood immunizations

January 13, 2021

While most children need to show immunization records to attend school, the same may not be true for camps, a new study suggests.

Nearly half of summer camps surveyed by researchers didn't have official policies requiring campers be vaccinated, according to findings led by Michigan Medicine C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in .

Of 378 camps represented, just 174 reportedly had immunization policies for campers and 133 (39%) mandated staffers be vaccinated. A little more than half of camps also allowed unvaccinated children with nonmedical exemptions to attend programs.

"While all states require immunizations for children attending public schools, most don't have the same mandates for summer camps," says lead author Carissa Bunke, M.D., of Mott Children's Hospital. "Campers are often in close contact and sharing common spaces, increasing risk for illness outbreaks.

"As we think about reducing the spread of infectious diseases, children in camps may be an important population to consider."

Researchers surveyed 710 respondents representing camps, including owners, directors, nurses, office staff and physicians. While the majority of camp leadership agreed that campers should be fully immunized prior to attending camps, policies didn't always reflect these views.

Nearly 14 million children attend camp every year. Multiple vaccine-preventable outbreaks have been reported over the last decade, including a 2009 mumps outbreak traced to a New York camp.

The American Academy of Pediatrics policy recommends that camps require all campers, staff and volunteers to receive and provide documentation of all age-appropriate vaccines. The AAP also states that camps should eliminate nonmedical exemptions.

The guidelines were released in 2019 as the number of measles cases reported in the United States rose to the highest case count since 1992 and since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000.

"While 100% vaccination rates may not always be possible, camps have a responsibility to take all measures to protect their campers and staff from vaccine-preventable diseases," says senior author Andrew Hashikawa, M.D., a pediatric emergency medicine physician at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

"Routine vaccination is critical to both individual and public health. With the rise in vaccine preventable outbreaks, future efforts to reduce the spread of communicable diseases should address these findings."
-end-
Paper cited: "A Survey of Camp Leadership to Assess Immunization Requirements, Policies, and Practices in a National Cohort of Summer Camps," JAMA Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.5342

Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

Related Children Articles from Brightsurf:

Black and Hispanic children in the US have more severe eczema than white children
A presentation at this year's virtual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting reveals the disparities that exist for Black and Hispanic children when it comes to Atopic Dermatitis (AD), commonly known as eczema.

Black children with cancer three times less likely to receive proton radiotherapy than White children
A retrospective analysis led by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital has found racial disparities in the use of the therapy for patients enrolled in trials.

The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health: First Europe-wide study of children confirms COVID-19 predominately causes mild disease in children and fatalities are very rare
Children with COVID-19 generally experience a mild disease and fatalities are very rare, according to a study of 582 patients from across Europe published today in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.

Children not immune to coronavirus; new study from pandemic epicenter describes severe COVID-19 response in children
- While most children infected with the novel coronavirus have mild symptoms, a subset requires hospitalization and a small number require intensive care.

How many children is enough?
Most Russians would like to have two children: a boy and a girl.

Preterm children have similar temperament to children who were institutionally deprived
A child's temperament is affected by the early stages of their life.

Only-children more likely to be obese than children with siblings
Families with multiple children tend to make more healthy eating decisions than families with a single child.

Children living in countryside outperform children living in metropolitan area in motor skills
Residential density is related to children's motor skills, engagement in outdoor play and organised sports. that Finnish children living in the countryside spent more time outdoors and had better motor skills than their age peers in the metropolitan area.

Hispanic and black children more likely to miss school due to eczema than white children
In a study that highlights racial disparities in the everyday impact of eczema, new research shows Hispanic and black children are more likely than white children to miss school due to the chronic skin disease.

Children, their parents, and health professionals often underestimate children's higher weight status
More than half of parents underestimated their children's classification as overweight or obese -- children themselves and health professionals also share this misperception, according to new research being presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, UK (April 28-May 1).

Read More: Children News and Children Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.