I was all set to sit down and begin my multi-blog discussion regarding cord blood when I came across an article in the front page of the Los Angeles Times today that has delayed my plans once again. Now I've certainly written quite a bit about vaccinations over this past year and sure many already realize my viewpoint when it comes to our children and vaccines, but no matter one's position here, I feel a responsibility to share some of the key points of this rather interesting article.
Applauding the authors' efforts, what they did is simply accumulate kindergarten vaccination rates from both public and private schools in California. Now keep in mind, with California schools (as each state has its own laws) all that is basically needed for a vaccine exemption is a parental/guardian signature. And despite the medical evidence finding no link between autism and its related disorders and vaccines (please feel free to refer to my earlier blogs for more details), exemptions from vaccines have risen more than two-fold in California since 1997. This translates to more than 10,000 kindergartners entering their first day of school last fall not having the fully recommended number of vaccines. And even though this may only represent 2% of kindergartners statewide, further analysis showed that those with vaccines exemptions were often enrolled at the same schools...often in the more affluent communities, interestingly enough.
And herein lies the greatest concern...having a community (such as a school) where 5%-10% of the population is not vaccinated allows for spreading of these diseases more quickly as there is a loss of herd immunity. Simply put, this is how epidemics evolve...such as the measles cases in San Diego early last year. Furthermore, while using 7.5% as the threshold, the authors' discovered 1 in 11 elementary schools in California are at risk of outbreaks from one of the many vaccine preventable diseases.
And my two cents? Well, not only am I disappointed but I'm also quite scared. I'm scared for your child, my child, and the child next door as I'm concerned these epidemics will only increase in frequency and in greater numbers over the next few years. Unfortunately, this is probably the only way the pendulum will swing in favor of vaccinating more consistently once again.
For those who would like to read article in its entirety, here is the link... http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-immunization29-2009mar29,0,3148179.story.