Do the pockets of vaccine-resistant parents really pose a health threat to the rest of the state?
“It’s possible,” Pan says. “It’s confined to pockets, but because we live in such a mobile society, a carrier leaving a pocket can spread infection to new pockets. The solution is to shrink the pockets.”
Ryan Spencer, a senior vice president at the Mercury political consulting firm, which represents a number of medical groups, agreed.
“There would still be the risk of an outbreak anytime we have those risks,’” he said.
The vulnerable include students who can’t be vaccinated because of medical conditions, such as impaired immune systems, or whose vaccinations for various reasons don’t protect them from infection.
Spencer said the anti-vaccine movement appears stronger in affluent areas. “It’s because they haven’t been exposed to much illness,” he says. “It’s not like Darfur, where you see disaster up close.”