When It Comes To Vaccines, Michigan Is Jenny McCarthy Stupid
February 18th, 2014, 8:57 AM
More than 5% of Michigan kindergartners are unvaccinated for non-medical reasons, according Mother Jones.
Only Idaho--home to many a right-wing nutter--and Vermont--home to many a left-wing nutter--have similar rates of unvaccinated children. And only Oregon--a state where fluoride remains controversial--has a higher population of unvaccinated kids.
Arkansas, New Mexico, and even Ohio are more rational about vaccines than Michigan.
As you might expect, when children don't get vaccinated, they get sick.
Mother Jones: California is not the only state with high-exemption hotspots. On Vashon Island, Washington, 17 percent of kindergartners failed to receive their shots in 2013 due to a "personal/philosophical" exemption. That's nine times the current national average. The year before, Vashon Islanders accounted for 16 percent of all whooping cough cases in Washington state's King County, despite housing just one percent of its population. And a 2008 study of exemption rates in Michigan found 23 clusters within the state, and, you guessed it, a correlation with higher rates of whooping cough. Even individual schools and churches can serve as ground zero: After a measles outbreak broke out in north Texas in 2012, the state epidemiologist linked it to a local megachurch whose pastor had spread anti-vaccine myths in the past.
Now, some states are rethinking the personal belief loophole. Reeling from the 2010 outbreak, California passed a law making it harder to get a personal belief exemption. As of January 1, parents seeking a personal belief exemption have to obtain the signature of an authorized health care provider. (Finding such a doctor may not be easy; recent studies show that more pediatricians are choosing to drop patients who refuse to vaccinate their children.)
Let's hope Michigan becomes one of those states that drops the absurd "personal beliefs" exemption to vaccine rules before we become a neo-Victorian hot bed of childhood deaths from easily preventable diseases.