The federal Centers for Disease Control say Missouri has one of the nation’s worst records for immunization of young children. The CDC says only 56 percent of children 19 to 35 months have all of the early childhood vaccinations that are recommended — whooping cough, tetanus, measles, hepatitis B, Chickenpox, and diphtheria. That’s 15 percentage points below the national average.

And the state is dead last in the percentage of children getting the four shots designed to inoculate against meningitis, pneumonia, and blood infections. We’re at 68 percent. Nationally, the average is 80 percent.