Wealthy Parents Turning Away From Science And Towards Anti-Vax Movement In Droves

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shutterstock_149971097__1376833207_142.196.156.251Some alarming data is showing that vaccination rates are decreasing in affluent communities. The CDC recommends a 90 percent immunization rate for school children. In some cases, exclusive private schools are reporting a less than a 20 percent rate. What gives?

Nina Shapiro, a mother and professor at UCLA medical school wrote an Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times last week about her growing concern with the anti-vax movement. She singled out some of the wealthier communities in Los Angeles:

One of Malibu’s three elementary schools reported that just 58% of its kindergartners were up to date on their vaccinations, and some other affluent areas throughout the state have schools with similar compliance rates.

Private schools vary widely, but some have rates of less than 20%. Yes, that’s right: Parents are willingly paying up to $25,000 a year to schools at which fewer than 1 in 5 kindergartners has been immunized against the pathogens causing such life-threatening illnesses as measles, polio,meningitis and pertussis (more commonly known as whooping cough).

Again, the CDC recommends an immunization rate of 90 percent or higher. California law requires immunizations in schools, but also has a very lax “personal belief” exemption. This makes it very easy for parents to “excuse” their kids from the recommended immunization schedule. Why are wealthy parents turning their backs on science in droves?

Paul Offit, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, explained one hypothesis about the wealthy anti-vaxxers to Salon:

“They’re people who believe that they can know anything and know as much as their doctor — if not more — by simply studying it, reading about it,” he said. Many of these people, he added, are used to being in control of their lives and at their jobs and want to control this aspect of their lives as well.

It’s funny (not funny ha,ha – funny, ridiculous) that in these times of parents requesting healthier food choices or trying desperately to remove allergens in schools, some people totally choose to disregard how important immunization is – not just for their children, but for society as a whole. Paying $25,000 a year for kindergartners to attend schools that happen to have a less than 20 percent vaccination rate is absurd. It’s not just the wealthy, there are a lot of communities where vaccine denial is growing. Offit told Salon:

“For the first time ever, there are a handful of states which now have people who are choosing not to get vaccines at the greater than 5 percent level, which is a problem. That’s where you’re going to start to see some of these diseases coming back. And you’re already seeing it with whooping cough and other diseases.”

Make. It. Stop.

(photo: Aquir/ Shutterstock)