Childhood vaccinations throughout the U.S. have declined for a second year in a row, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday.

The CDC study found that among kindergarten-aged children, 93% received state-required vaccinations last year against measles, polio and other diseases; a drop from 94% in the previous school year and 95% in the 2019-2020 school year.

The CDC noted that this decline means that around 250,000 kindergartners are left potentially unprotected against measles, which is the most contagious virus in the world.

Outbreaks of diseases that were previously under control are beginning to pop up as vaccination rates slip: In addition to measles cases in central Ohio, a single polio case in New York led to positive samples of the virus being discovered in wastewater last year.

"This is alarming – it should be a call to action for all of us," said Sean O'Leary, American Academy of Pediatrics chair of Committee on Infectious Diseases, during a CDC-led press briefing Thursday.

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While disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic might be partially to blame for the decreased percentages — kids missed doctor's appointments and school routines — experts say parents' fears concerning vaccine misinformation is also a factor.

"Misinformation is a problem and has always been a problem," said O'Leary. "We're still trying to understand the extent to which misinformation around the COVID vaccine has spread to misinformation about other childhood vaccines."

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While parents must provide vaccination records to public schools in order for kids to be in class, some children are able to claim exemption for medical or religious reasons. The CDC report cited that around 2.6% of students attend school under these exemptions.

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via: People.

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