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Calling Their Own Shots: Parents Seek Vaccine Exemptions

Calling Their Own Shots: Parents Seek Vaccine Exemptions
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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 Bvaricella (chickenpox), and polio vaccines for four months or more.

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139 comments

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2:49PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Vaccines are not to be blindly trusted!
Do your research people!

8:52AM PST on Dec 8, 2011

There once was a girl named Ophelia,
who shunned shots for measles, mumps and diphtheria.
Her excuses were inane,
then measles attacked her brain,
and now she has permanent amnesia !

1:14AM PST on Dec 6, 2011

Well, they propose nonsense, snake oil and/or unproven "remedies" or bizarrely, "good nutrition" to prevent illness. It's quite amazing the stupidity of it.

9:16PM PST on Dec 5, 2011

John D. It seems a lot of those screaming that vaccines and other drugs are solely money grabbing schemes of, "Big Pharma", are those most likely to financially gain from such bashing as they are the purveyors of homeopathic alternatives? One might say that its a conspiracy of, "Big Homo" !

3:53AM PST on Dec 4, 2011

As a child I remember how polio and TB were rife and immunisation mandatory. Also Measles and Whooping Cough were recommended and I was given them. This was in the 1940s. Despite the jabs I have no immunity to TB and still contracted Whooping Cough every time it came round until I was in my teens. Mumps and Chickenpox however, were not considered serious enough and parents were encouraged to let their children catch them naturally.

11:29PM PST on Dec 3, 2011

I think there was an Indian girl named Rahima, though, and there was a British lab technician who caught it in the lab, though.

11:27PM PST on Dec 3, 2011

By the time I was born in 1970, a doctor told my mom not to worry about the smallpox vaccine. The one in a million risk of dying of the shot was worse than the likelihood of getting smallpox without warning in the United States. He figured there would be time for vaccination if smallpox were found in the USA. Besides, the disease was eradicated in the wild hardly ten years later.

Reader's Digest reported that the last case was in Merke, Somalia in 1977.

2:06AM PST on Dec 3, 2011

Yes Christopher. But the loony conspiracy theorists will still say that "Big Pharma" and the rest just want to kill us all!

8:47PM PST on Dec 2, 2011

I think the disease is more dangerous than the vaccine. That is why we have vaccines. Doctors are not sadistic or idiots.

Why do you think my doctor for example had me take Avandia if it has a heart attack risk? Because the immediate risk of uncontrolled diabetes is worse.

Why do you think surgeons risked my life with surgery and radiologists risked my life with radiation in 1997?
Because the immediate risk of dying of testicular cancer was considerably stronger than the risks of surgery or radiation.

Now I had a roommate in 1990 born with 3/4 of his heart. Presumably that was a problem needing fixing. It took a lot of operations to fix and the last one killed him. Yes, medicine has risks. But doing nothing also has risks.

Medical science is about statistical odds. Most of the time you are safer following the doctors' advice than ignoring it.

Until gods practice medicine, there will always be risks in medicine because humans practice medicine scientifically with the best guess they have as humans. The human body is not an exact science. We can't save everyone. There are always people who die from drugs/medicines or vaccines.

I agree that vaccine preservatives are a bad idea.

But we have come a long way from when infectious disease and some diseases like cancer claimed life without mercy. We have saved millions, even billions, in the past century with vaccines and antibiotics/drugs, undoubtedly.

In the long run of the human race, we have undoubtedly w

2:01PM PST on Dec 2, 2011

Yes, measles does kill.... Gone With the Wind... I regret to inform you Charles Hamilton [bravely died of] measles Mrs. Hamilton, in a letter.

Army camp. Nice place to pick up a childhood illness if you spent all your life on a plantation.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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