Over the past five years, more and more parents in half the states in the US have been choosing not to have their children receive required vaccines. In eight states, more than 1 out of 20 kindergartners do not get their school shots for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.
The immunization schedule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians now recommends that children receive 25 shots in their first 18 months of life, a higher number than ever. The sheer number of shots is causing some parents to hesitate about having to yet again hold onto a weeping child shrinking from a needle. Some parents think that the risks of vaccinating are greater than not; others “find it easier to check a box opting out than to get the shots and required paperwork.” Some parents have chosen not to have their children receive any vaccinations; others have their children receive some of the older shots such as the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), and opt out of one or two shots, such as that for chickenpox or some of the newer ones (such as that for HPV).
States in the West and in the Upper Midwest had the highest exemption rates, an Associated Press survey found:
For its review, the AP asked state health departments for kindergarten exemption rates for 2006-07 and 2010-11. The AP also looked at data states had previously reported to the federal government. (Most states do not have data for the current 2011-12 school year.)
Alaska had the highest exemption rate in 2010-11, at nearly 9 percent. Colorado’s rate was 7 percent, Minnesota 6.5 percent, Vermont and Washington 6 percent, and Oregon, Michigan and Illinois were close behind.
Mississippi was lowest, at essentially 0 percent.
The AP found 10 states had exemption rate increases over the five years of about 1.5 percentage points or more, a range health officials say is troubling.
Those states, too, were in the West and Midwest – Alaska, Kansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. Arizona saw an increase that put that state in the same ballpark.
In some rural areas of northeastern Washington, rates for exemptions from vaccines have risen above 20 percent and even as high as 50 percent.
A new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found that 61 percent of more than 200 pediatricians surveyed in Washington state agreed to parents’ requests to space out or delay vaccines. Doctors are most likely to consider postponing hepatitis B; varicella (chickenpox), and polio vaccines for four months or more.
Read more: andrew wakefield, autism, cdc, childrens health, immunization, kids health, Measles, measles mumps rubella vaccine, medication exemption, mmr, pediatricians, philosophical exemption, religious exemption, vaccine, vaccines, Wakefield, washington
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