More Kids Skip Shots
November 29, 2011 by staff
More Kids Skip Shots, A rising number of parents in more than half of states are opting out of school shots for their kids. And in eight states, more than 1 in 20 public school kindergartners do not get all the vaccines required for attendance, an Associated Pressanlysis found.
That has health officials worried about possible new outbreaks of diseases that were all but stamped out.
The APanlysis found more than half of states have seen at least a slight rise in the rate of exemptions over the past five years. States with the highest exemption rates are in the West and Upper Midwest.
It’s “really gotten much worse,” said Mary Selecky, secretary of health for Washington state, where 6 percent of public school parents have opted out.
Rules for exemptions vary by state and can include medical, religious or — in some states — philosophical reasons.
Parents’ reasons for skipping the shots vary. Some doubt that vaccines are essential. Others fear that vaccines carry their own risks. And some find it easier to check a box opting out than to get the shots and required paperwork.
Still others are ambivalent, believing in older vaccines but questioning newer shots against, say, chickenpox.
The number of shots is also giving some parents pause. By the time most children are 6, they will have been stuck with a needle about two dozen times — with many of those shots given in infancy. The cumulative effect of all those shots has not been studied enough, some parents say.
“Many of the vaccines are unnecessary, and public health officials don’t honestly know” the effects of giving so many vaccines to such small children, said Jennifer Margulis, a mother of four and parenting book author in Ashland, Ore., a small liberal community that has unusually high vaccination exemption rates.
But few serious problems have turned up over years of vaccinations, and several studies have shown no link between vaccines and autism, a theory from the 1990s that has been widely discredited.
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