News Headlines Article

Kids in these U.S. hot spots at higher risk because parents opt out of vaccinations
Washington Post

Public health officials have long known that the United States has pockets of vulnerability where the risk of measles and other vaccine-preventable childhood diseases is higher because parents hesitate or refuse to get their children immunized.

Eighteen states allow parents to opt their children out of school immunization requirements for nonmedical reasons, with exemptions for religious or philosophical beliefs. And in two-thirds of those states, a comprehensive new analysis finds a rising number of kindergartners who have not been vaccinated.

In a report published Tuesday in PLOS Medicine, researchers from several Texas academic centers tracked the increasing number of children with exemptions in all 18 states from the 2009-2010 to 2016-2017 school years. They characterized many rural counties, as well as urban areas, as “hotspots” because their high exemption rates put them at risk for epidemics of measles, whooping cough and other pediatric infectious diseases.

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