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Monday, August 31, 2015

Vaccination Rates

In chapter 2 of The Politics of Autism, I discuss the belief that vaccines cause autism.

Soumya Karlamangla reports at The Los Angeles Times:
The eruption at Disneyland occurred 14 years after health officials had declared the potentially deadly disease eliminated from the United States, thanks in part to childhood vaccination programs. The outbreak raised alarm that more scares could be on the way.
California lawmakers quickly moved to tamp down a growing resistance to vaccination that had been fostered in some communities by unfounded safety concerns. By summer, Gov. Jerry Brown had signed one of the nation's toughest laws to keep parents from opting not to inoculate their kids.
Nationwide data released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that although California children are immunized at a high level, the state's vaccination rate still lags behind the rest of the country.
Eric Holmberg reports at The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader:
Children going back to school in Pennsylvania could be walking into classrooms where as many as one out of every five classmates don’t have all the vaccines required by the state.
While many parents believe that disease outbreaks in school are rare because of vaccines, there were a record number of measles cases in the United States in 2014, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 668 cases in 27 states was the highest number since measles were considered eliminated in 2000.
And in the 2013-2014 school year, Pennsylvania had one of the worst vaccination rates in the country for the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, according to the CDC.
 Pennsylvania is one of 20 states that allows parents to claim a religious or philosophical exemption.
Those exemptions allow for a parent to not vaccinate “on the basis of a strong moral or ethical conviction similar to a religious belief.”
They can apply to people whose religion conflicts with vaccinations and others who believe a widely discredited study that said vaccines can cause autism spectrum disorder.
In tight-knit religious communities, there’s the potential for an outbreak. The largest measles outbreak last year (383 cases) occurred primarily among the Amish northeast of Columbus, Ohio. Pennsylvania is the other state with a large Amish population.