These results suggests to me that neighbors talk to neighbors, birds of a feather flock together, or that people don’t want to be ostracized and fall in line with even nonsense beliefs that are ultimately harmful.
A new Kaiser Permanente study shows that Marin County has plenty of company when it comes to parents choosing not to vaccinate their children.
The study, published in the current edition of the journal Pediatrics, found several clusters of underimmunization and vaccine refusal among Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California.
Personal belief exemption rates statewide had remained fairly stable at about half of 1 percent for many years until the late 1990s, when a now-discredited report linked childhood immunization to autism. Statewide, the percentage of kindergartners claiming the personal belief exemption grew from 1.56 percent in 2007-08 to 3.15 percent in 2013-14.
In Marin, however, the number shot up much higher — from 4.2 percent in 2005 to 7.83 percent in 2012-13. Marin’s personal belief exemption rate dropped back to 6.45 percent in 2014-15. Still, the percentage of kindergartners claiming a personal belief exemption in Marin is much higher than in most other California counties with similar demographics.
The study determined that neither race/ethnicity nor neighborhood income were dominant drivers of clustering, “although individual-level underimmunization was higher in neighborhoods with more families in poverty, as well as those with more graduate degrees.”
The now-discredited study mentioned in the article is, of course, the infamous study by Andrew Wakefield, which also caused him to lose his medical license years later. His legacy continues. See what harm bullshit information can do?
Note that the clusters are among the richest and the poorest – a bimodal distribution that suggests two different causes. It’s not hard to imagine that low income families who lack easy access to health care are deficient in vaccines. Yet, the refusal rate is high in highly EDUCATED families. Vaccine refusal was high in Marin and southwest Sonoma counties, northeastern San Francisco, the East Bay extending from El Cerrito to Alameda, northeastern Sacramento County including Roseville, and a small area south of Sacramento. Rates in these were from 5.5 percent to 13.5 percent! I get the impression that these parents eschew science and listen to BS from their friends and relatives that vaccines are bad. This is an extremely unreliable source of information but one that is incredibly persuasive. Keeping up with the Jones may mean also not getting your kids vaccinated because of the current trendy talk about it. Well, that “talk” is wrong and it is hurting children.