Are Your Kids Vaccinated? More Parents Choosing Not To Have Kids Get Shots. - Page 2
Childhood vaccination rates remain high overall, at 90 percent or better for standard "old time diseases," including those for polio, measles, hepatitis B and even chickenpox and in many states, exemptions are filed for fewer than 1 percent of children entering school for the first time. Nevertheless, what upsets officials are areas in some states where exemption rates are much higher, like in rural counties in northeast Washington, where in recent years parents have opted out above 20 percent of the population and even as high as 50 percent.
"Vaccine refusers tend to cluster," said Saad Omer, Emory University epidemiologist who has done extensive research on the issue.
Responsibility to other kids then, becomes the problem. When kids skip vaccines, they put the other kids at risk for contagion, health officials are quick to point out because no vaccine is 100% effective. A vaccinated child may face some risk of contracting the disease if an outbreak has occurred amongst kids who didn't have their shots.
Studies have shown that communities with high exemption rates sometimes have disease outbreaks that never before occurred there, and the disease has re-emerged to do damage. And among the cases were kids who had their shots or children too young to have received them. California had more than 2,100 whooping cough cases, and 10 infants died last year. Tellingly, one of them had received a first dose of vaccine.
But could polio or diphtheria, two dreaded diseases, ever rear their ugly heads in the U.S.? Seems impossible, doesn't it? Not according to immunization expert Dr. Lance Rodewald who is with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Polio can come back. China was polio free for two decades, and just this year, they were infected from Pakistan, and there is a big outbreak of polio in China now. The same could happen here," noted Rodewald.Continued on the next page