Washington Parents Most Likely Not to Vaccinate Children


Washington has won the dubious distinction of being the state with the most parents opting not to have their children be vaccinated. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, more than 6 percent of Washington kindergarteners were missing one or more immunizations in the 2009-2010 school year, with the chicken pox vaccine the most commonly missed; the state is said to be experiencing an “epidemic of worry over vaccine safety.” But a new state law that went into effect in July places new requirements on parents who opt out of vaccinating their children and want to send them to public school:

[The new law] seeks to close a loophole that parents used to avoid providing proof of vaccinations to schools. Now, parents must meet with a medical provider, get a signed letter confirming that the consultation took place, and provide the note to child-care centers or schools.

In other states, parents can claim a “religious exemption” or a “philosophical exemption” to forego vaccinating a child. Claiming such can (in some states) involve no more than writing a letter stating why one’s religious or philosophical beliefs prohibit vaccinating a child. The new Washington law ups the ante considerably by requiring that parents have a formal consultation with a doctor or other medical provider and get a signed letter.

Dr. Jack Stephens, a pediatrician at The Everett Clinic in Washington, notes that those who choose not to vaccinate their children are not uneducated parents, as in the past:

“The world has changed,” said Dr. Jack Stephens, a pediatrician at The Everett Clinic. “It used to be the unimmunized child was the child of an economically disadvantaged family with poor access to health care.

“Nowadays, it’s usually well-educated parents of higher social status who do their own independent research and tell you what they’re willing to do.”

A parent quoted in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article notes that she’s concerned about a possible link between vaccines and autism. A purported link between vaccines or something in vaccines and autism indeed played a huge role in bringing “questions over the safety of vaccines… into the mainstream” in the late 1990s. But this link was based on what has been found to be fraudulent research by a British doctor, Andrew Wakefield, who has now been disbarred from practicing medicine in the UK. Wakefield’s now-retracted study linking autism to the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine set off an international public health scare that led to a huge drop in vaccination rates in the UK, and an equally notable rise in cases of measles in Europe.

Reports of measles cases in the US have also been on the rise.†Symptoms of measles, which is highly contagious,†include fever, cough and a rash that spreads down from the scalp and through the body. For every 1,000 children who contract measles, one or two will die, says the†Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Parents who choose not to have a child vaccinated are taking risks with not only their child’s heath, but the health of their communities.†Choosing not to vaccinate a child, or to “spread out” vaccinations, leads to a lower vaccination rate in a population. This in turn leads to lowered “herd immunity”: When a significant proportion of a population has been vaccinated against a disease, those who not been vaccinated (such as infants) have a measure of protection. But when overall vaccination rates are lower, herd immunity is compromised and more are at risk of contracting a disease like measles.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer notes that, according to Glen Nowak, a senior adviser with a specialty in immunizations and respiratory diseases for the CDC, three-quarters of parents in the US have at least one “question or concern” about vaccinations. No matter how many scientific studies are published that dispute a link, the speculation over vaccines somehow “contributing” to autism and other health issues seems to be in little danger of withering away. This is unfortunate, as vaccines can and do save lives, can and do protect children and adults against terrible infectious diseases that were the terror of previous generations.

As Dr. Stephens notes about the vaccine-autism theory, “People still believe it. Once the belief is out there, it takes on a life of its own. It becomes immortal.”


Related Care2 Coverage

95% US Kids Vaccinated, But Parents Still Have (Autism) Worries

Measles Cases Up Tenfold in UK; Almost 5000 Cases in France This Year

Law School Journal Study Suggests Why Some Canít Let Go of a Vaccine-Autism Link

The Real Damage Wrought to Autistic Individuals by Andrew Wakefield

Photo by lancefisher


Snow Leopard
.4 years ago


As always, you point out plain facts that intelligent people can verify and comprehend!

Take care,


Ava T.
Ava T.4 years ago

And Lindsey D., the intelligent thing to do would be to point out where Viera's facts are wrong, where her research is faulty, instead of just saying "oh well she's a geologist what does she know". Anybody can read a product monograph and look up morbidity and mortality data! Anybody can go to a medical library and do some research. So if her research is wrong, question the research itself. The surest sign you have no argument is an ad hominem attack.

Ava T.
Ava T.4 years ago

Low herd immunity is a crock of sh*t. There is no substantive scientific evidence whatsoever to support it. And this article, another great example of FEAR MONGERING. The increase in Measles cases, which have been taking place in areas of high vaccine uptake (exceeding "herd immunity" standards) and amongst primarily *vaccinated* children, not unvaccinated, is not in any way related to Washington state. Think about where all the most recent outbreaks of vaccinated diseases we've heard of have come from. California, New York/New Jersey, Massachusetts... hmm I don't hear Washington in there. And in all of those cases herd immunity in communities was supposedly sufficient to prevent outbreaks. So don't buy this bullshit that not vaccinating your kid is endangering other people, it's just fear mongering lies. Educate yourself, and don't feel guilty for one minute! I have been doing vaccine research for 7 years and have an unvaccinated 6 year old son who just got sick for the 4th time in his whole life- fever for a day, threw up, on off fever for the next day, gone. You know what I have now? Strep throat! Which is "going around" the schools. While the other kids are getting sick he is not because he has a HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM, that's what is needed to fight disease, not toxic vaccinations!

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal5 years ago

Vaccinations? What do they really prevent and what are the consequences for the individual? Worth looking into.

john k.
john k.5 years ago

you all are doing very well with the mantra...........vaccine bad.....measles good........vaccine bad........smallpox good........vaccine bad.......chickenpox good..........vaccine bad.......polio good..........vaccine bad.......mumps good........vaccine bad.........rubella good........vaccine bad.............hepatitis b good...........vaccine bad..........influenza good..........say it......believe it........repeat it......again and again.........vaccine bad...........measles good............

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.5 years ago

Lindsey D. I can cite many many more, and give you studies out of the New England Journal of Medicine. She is a research scientist, hired to design crib monitoring systems to prevent SIDS and finding over 30,000 studies linking it to Vaccines. You could find this as well, I could to. Lindsey D.
this is who I am: I was vaccinated a lot, driving me to spend 30 years on (many of them in the educational process -- 2 degrees) to explore how to rectify my health, as it was robbed from me, progressively with each vaccine. I am a very strong woman in her fifties now, who has homoeopathic medicine, along with many holistic therapies to thank. I have also worked for a midwife, 4 years at Brown, 5 at midwifery school. Decades. I gave birth, at home, to 4 healthy children, 1 by myself, belly to breast, as the helpers/ midwife made it just minutes after the birth. I have academically studied this, practiced holistic medicine treating the multitude of complexities in children's and adult immune function, debilitated by vaccines. I have first hand, second hand, and researched experience. I would not want to be the people or person perpetrating the power and control tactics of these poisons, creating SIDS, a horrible death in the most gentle of folk,let alone turning a generation is medicated children due to the iatrogenic problems. I would not want to be these people in the next life.

jon a.
jon anderson5 years ago

So Washington parents are the biggest non-comformists -- yet still 94% of kids have every single vaccine that's being pushed. The vaccination industry has the US wrapped up and will need new global markets fast! COME ON BILL GATES!

Lindsey DTSW
.5 years ago

Cynthia S., the author you cite (Viera Scheibner) might be more authoritative if she actually had qualifications in some form of medical field. Which she doesn't, of course, being a geologist. And would be even more authoritative if her "research" was not so poorly done and her disdain for the facts not so rampant.


Past Member
.5 years ago

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Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.5 years ago

Each example - DPT, measles, mumps, hepatitis B, rubella, polio, the influenzas, smallpox - is well documented from an impressive range of research across the world: Australia, Canada, UK, US, Sweden, Switzerland. The medical information is presented clearly and, generally, fairly objectively in a flowing and invitational style. Complex issues are deconstructed and defined to the source concern: health and the consequences of experimentation on young lives.
The penultimate chapter entitled 'Adverse Effects of Vaccine Validate Homoeopathy' offers a resounding recognition of its facility as a medical science. Here Viera Scheibner sets out the principles of homoeopathy against the laws of conventional medicine and the results of research into vaccination.