February 29, 2024

Growing number of American parents reject vaccines

Not on religious grounds, but because they surf the internet

To avoid vaccinating your child, would you
send your child to a measles party? To a chicken pox party? Some parents do
because they distrust vaccines and want their children to acquire natural
immunity– a trend that scares American public health officials. In most states,
vaccination is mandatory, although it has always been possible to get an exemption
for religious reasons. However, the steep growth in the number of “exempters”
is due to parents who believe that the vaccines are actually harmful. In recent
years 21 states have created "personal-belief" or exemptions which
allow parents to keep their children unvaccinated if they don’t believe in the

Only an estimated 2 to 3 percent of the 3 million children
who attend kindergarten annually are not vaccinated. Exempters tend to cluster in
certain neighbourhoods. Exemption rates of 15% to 18% have been found in
Ashland, Oregon, and Vashon, Washington. In California, where the statewide
rate of non-vaccinated children is about 1.5%, some counties were as high as 19%
of kindergartners.

Although world wide the number of measles cases dropped 68%
between 2000 and 2006, thanks to vaccinations, there are occasional outbreaks,
even in the US. There is one in San Diego at the moment, with 64 cases. All but
one of the children had not been vaccinated, although some were too young.

do American parents object? Many are scared by unsubstantiated reports that
vaccines sometimes cause autism. Experts complain about misinformation from the
internet. Some object on religious grounds. One group in Virginia says that "forcing
vaccination is a violation of human rights."

“The very success of immunizations has turned out to be an
Achilles’ heel,” Dr Mark Sawyer, a California infectious disease specialist told
the New York Times. “Most of these parents have never seen measles, and don’t
realize it could be a bad disease so they turn their concerns to unfounded
risks. ~ Washington Post, June 10; New York Times, Mar 21

One thought on “Growing number of American parents reject vaccines

  1. Does anyone have statistics on the number of children who have avoided morbidity and mortality from vaccinations versus those who have been diagnosed with autism after receiving vaccinations?

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