Parents who send their children to private schools in California are much more likely to opt out of immunizations than their public school counterparts, an Associated Press analysis has found, and not even the recent re-emergence of whooping cough has halted the downward trajectory of vaccinations among these students.
More troubling to public health officials is that the number of children entering private schools without all of their shots jumped by 10 percent last year, while the opt-out rate held steady in public schools for the first time since 2004.
Public health officials believe that an immunization rate of at least 90 percent in all communities, including schools, is critical to minimizing the potential for a disease outbreak. About 15 percent of the 1,650 private schools surveyed by the state failed to reach that threshold, compared with 5 percent of public schools.
Parents cite a variety of reasons for not immunizing their children, among them: religious values, concerns the shots themselves could cause illness and a belief that allowing children to get sick helps them to build a stronger immune system. Likewise, there’s no single explanation that accounts for why so many more parents who send their children to private schools apparently share a suspicion of immunizations.
Tip: Steve Liberace
It’s a well-known fact that the more affluent and educated parents STILL reject vaccination. They are swayed by anti-vax pseudoscience. They have never seen outbreaks of diseases like pertussis and polio and have a mistaken notion that these diseases are no big deal. But BABIES DIE FROM PERTUSSIS. There is no excuse for not vaccinating. This is a sorry state.
It’s clear that lowered vaccination rates are tied to a surge in whooping cough and other communicable diseases.
The California Legislature has approve a bill requiring parents to discuss vaccinations with a pediatricians or a school nurse before they can opt-out. Gov. Jerry Brown has until the end of September to sign or veto it. Not sure how that will go.