Okay, it’s time for a little quiz about the practice of childhood vaccination in the United States. You have probably heard about the resurgence of measles here. This resurgence is directly related to the failure to vaccinate children. Last week, the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) published some data that attempts to explain the resurgence of measles in more detail. Specifically, the CDC looked at the rate of measles vaccination at age five, the year of school entry for most children, across the United States. Here are some of the questions that the CDC posed and answered:
What percentage of children have received two doses of MMR (Measles vaccine) by their fifth birthday? (94.8%)
What percentage of families claim religious, medical, and/or philosophic reasons to exempt their children from getting MMR vaccine? (0.1%-7%)
Which states do not allow religious exemption from vaccination? (Mississippi and West Virginia)
Which state had the lowest rate of children having two doses of MMR vaccine? (Colorado)
Which state has the highest vaccine rate for MMR vaccine? (Texas)
Which state had the highest rate of children not being vaccinated due to exemptions? (Alaska)
Since parental refusal to vaccinate receives a lot of press, I was surprised to see how few children are exempted from the requirement. On average, only 1.5% of kindergartners have been exempted from the MMR vaccine. Fortunately, this percentage represents only a 0.2% increase from the previous year. What I learned from this study is that even small increases in vaccine refusal can lead to quick and large increases disease frequency. Additionally, this is a reminder that the measles germs haven’t gone away and the only thing holding it back is getting all of our children vaccinated! Parental resistance to vaccination does not seem to be increasing rapidly but even a little resistance can spell trouble for children. Get those kids of yours vaccinated!
Your comments are welcome. Please direct them to my blog at www.docsmo.com. Until next time.
Vaccination Coverage Among Children in Kindergarten — United States, 2011–12 School Year
August 24, 2012 / 61(33);647-652