Are measles a risk at your kid’s school? Explore vaccination-exemption data with our new tool

Feb 9, 2019 by

Dozens of people are sick with measles after an outbreak in Clark County, Wash. Use our tool to look up vaccination rates in your kids’ school.

Why would some parents not protect their child from a serious disease when a safe and effective vaccine exists?

That’s the question many here are asking as Washington battles an unprecedented epidemic of measles — 50 confirmed cases this year, including 49 in Clark County and one in King. Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency Jan. 25.

“There are some families in Washington who choose not to vaccinate when they could,” said Danielle Koenig from the Department of Health.

Indeed, Washington has one of the highest rates of student vaccine exemptions in the nation. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published last year found that the percentage of Washington kindergartners with a vaccine exemption was more than twice the national median. Interestingly, the Northwest has the highest exemption rates in the country, with Oregon, Idaho and Alaska the top three states, in that order. Washington ranks eighth.

All 50 states allow student-vaccine exemptions for medical reasons, and nearly all do for religious beliefs. But only 17, including Washington, grant exemptions for those with moral, personal or philosophical objections to vaccines. Roughly three out of four exemptions in Washington are for those reasons, including the belief vaccines can cause autism, which has been disproved by CDC studies.

For the 2017-2018 school year, about 4 percent of K-12 students in Washington received a nonmedical exemption excusing the student from one or more vaccinations. Another 1 percent received an exemption for medical reasons.

Source: Are measles a risk at your kid’s school? Explore vaccination-exemption data with our new tool | The Seattle Times

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