Plunge in vaccination rate worries health officials


By Paloma Esquivel and Sandra Poindexter, Los Angeles Times

California parents are deciding against vaccinating their kindergarten-age children at twice the rate they did seven years ago, a fact public health experts said is contributing to the reemergence of measles across the state and may lead to outbreaks of other serious diseases.

The percentage of kindergartens in which at least 8 percent of students are not fully vaccinated because of personal beliefs has more than doubled as well, according to data on file with the state. That threshold is significant because communities must be immunized at a high rate to avoid widespread disease outbreaks. It is a concept known as herd immunity, and for measles and whooping cough at least 92% of kids need to be immune, experts say.
Public vs. private

High vaccination levels in the U.S. have helped millions of children avoid serious diseases and saved tens of thousands a year from paralysis, birth defects and death, experts say. But the risk of infectious disease remains a concern. Recent measles cases, for example, were brought into the country by travelers and quickly spread to several unvaccinated individuals.

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Comments (11)
  1. rock4tahoe says - Posted: September 5, 2014

    Again, this is the 21st Century, NOT the 18th Century. These “parents” that do NOT want to get their children immunized need to go back school and learn about the history and the effects of: diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio etc. on young children… in graphic detail.

  2. Blue Jeans says - Posted: September 5, 2014

    Ditto Rock. Again, go to Frontline on your computer and watch the documentary: Vaccination Wars. You will see (graphically) what it is like for a little one to die of whooping cough.

  3. Dogula says - Posted: September 5, 2014

    I agree with R4T 100%. My dad was a physician, and we got every shot known to man. Every summer. None of us is autistic, we are all healthy adults. People who refuse to protect their children, and by extension other people’s children, need to rethink it. Listen to the doctors, NOT the Hollywood stars.

  4. Biggerpicture says - Posted: September 5, 2014

    We now have a quorum.

    In the mid 60’s I was inoculated AT school!

  5. cosa pescado says - Posted: September 5, 2014

    See, sometimes we need to force stupid people to do things against their will because their stupid is all of our liability. Why can’t all public policy that is science based be this way? Hey dumb-dumbs, you don’t need to drink bottled water, your lawn is a complete waste of water, and there is no such thing as clean coal.
    Welcome to Costco, I love you.

  6. Sharon Kerrigan says - Posted: September 8, 2014

    Many parents are opting not to vaccinate their children due to the chemicals and binders that are added to the vaccines these days. There is anecdotal evidence that vaccines are triggering autism in many children, though it has not been proven scientifically yet. My bet is that if the pharmaceutical companies would address parents concerns and be willing to change what they are putting in the vaccines (besides the dead viruses to give our kids immunity) then more parents would be willing to vaccinate. I personally have chosen to vaccinate my daughter – but each time I hold my breath and pray that she won’t have an adverse reaction.

  7. Moral Hazard says - Posted: September 8, 2014

    Sharon, there has been decades of research on the safety of vaccines with preservatives and there is no evidence of any link with autism and there is proof now that vaccines do not have any link to autism.

    About your suggestion that manufacturers listen to parents. I hope and pray not. Hopefully the vaccine manufacturers will listen to people with the education to form a rational opinion rather than buy into parents irrational fears.

  8. Dogula says - Posted: September 8, 2014

    Absolutely right, Moral Hazard. On both points. People are foolish to base such decisions on rumor and popular opinion.
    Contrary, though, to Fish’s comment, I don’t believe anybody should be forced to inoculate. But at the same time, I also believe that public schools have the right to disallow the unvaccinated from attending. We should be free to make our own choices; but we must also accept the consequences of those choices.

  9. Moral Hazard says - Posted: September 8, 2014

    Dogula, you are free to swing your fists as long as my nose isn’t in the way.

    Immunization has to be administered at a rate sufficient to produce “herd immunity.” No vaccine works 100% of the time, but that is okay because above a given percentage, it is unlikely a susceptible person will come into contact with an infectious person. So that is what we have to have in order for a persons choice to be a truly personal choice. If we are below a certain percentage, each individual who is not immunized is a figurative punch in the nose to the population as a whole.

    That is why we should have laws to keep the un-immunized out of the general population at least at all public schools. I don’t care if they refuse immunization, just that they should enjoy the downside of the decision, they should not being increasing my kids risk for preventable disease.

    To that end, the unimmunized should also pay every dollar for the extra burden of having to educate their kids in a parallel system.

  10. rock4tahoe says - Posted: September 8, 2014

    Moral and Dog. I would point out, to the vaccine skeptics, the results of the Polio Vaccine. We all know what Polio does. (If you are somehow unaware of Polio, please do a search online and look at the images.) Polio is very contagious. Polio seems to affect young children the worst.

    Thanks to the Polio Vaccine, we have not seen a documented case of Polio in the USA since 1979. However, Polio is still a problem in certain countries around the world.

    Are there “possible” side effects to the Polio Vaccine? Yes. However. You have to weigh the effects of contracting the disease versus the side effects to the vaccine. In my humble opinion, this is a very one sided argument.

  11. cosa pescado says - Posted: September 9, 2014

    The anti vaccination folks are in the same camp as the ‘chemtrail’ folks. You can explain the data and science behind it and they will push for the exception defining the rule. All we can do is make them camp far away from the rest of us.