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Monday, April 15, 2019

Tight-Knit Communities and Vaccine Hesitancy

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism.   This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing disease to spread.

Sumathi Reddy at WSJ:
In 2017 it was a Somali community in Minnesota. In 2014 it was the Amish in Ohio. This year, it is Orthodox Jewish communities in New York and Eastern Europeans in Washington state.
Insular and close-knit religious or cultural groups have seen some of the worst measles outbreaks in the U.S. in recent years.

About 75% of measles outbreaks over the past five years—defined as three or more linked cases—took place in such tightknit communities, says Nancy Messonnier, acting director of the CDC’s Center for Preparedness and Response, and an expert on immunization and respiratory diseases. Such groups share the same culture and are often somewhat isolated from the larger community.
In Ohio, when a measles outbreak hit an Amish community in 2014, they were willing to get the MMR vaccine when they saw the effect the disease was having, says Michael Brady, associate medical director at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. The issue wasn’t the vaccine, he says, but their philosophy of not accepting anything from the government.

In Washington state where a measles outbreak has been contained, advocates and health experts say there is documented vaccine hesitancy in the Ukrainian and Russian-speaking populations.
Tetyana Odarich, a family medicine physician in Portland, Ore., sees many patients from the Ukrainian and Russian community in the area and says roughly half don’t want to get their children vaccinated.