Credit: baona / iStock

Vaccination rates hit an all-time high for California kindergartners, the California Department of Public Health said Wednesday as it announced its first findings since a new law ended the era of the “personal belief exemption” that allowed thousands of parents to choose not to vaccinate their children who attend public and private schools.

The percentage of kindergartners who received all required vaccines rose to 95.6 percent in 2016-17, up from the 92.8 percent rate in 2015-16. This is the highest reported rate for the current set of immunization requirements, which began in the 2001-02 school year, the state said.

“It’s a great thing for California kids,” said Catherine Flores Martin, director of the California Immunization Coalition. “It’s a big win for schools and communities.”

To be clear, California parents do not have to immunize their children. But under the new law, Senate Bill 277, children must be immunized against 10 serious communicable diseases if they want to attend public or private schools and child care centers. If unvaccinated, children must be home schooled or enrolled in independent study with no classroom instruction or receiving special education services, the California Department of Public Health said.

Children may be granted a medical exemption to vaccinations with a note from a doctor attesting that the child’s health condition prohibits vaccinations. Rates of medical exemptions rose to 0.5 percent in 2016-17 from 0.2 percent in 2015-16. The California Department of Health also released a new category of information – 0.5 percent of kindergartners were reported as lacking full immunization because they attended private home schools or independent study programs or received special education services.

Map-Immunization

Credit: California Department of Public Health

Source: California Department of Public Health

Tulare County had the highest rate – 98.5 percent – of vaccinated kindergartners followed by San Benito County with 98.1 percent, the state said.

But even with the increase in vaccination rates, nine counties have vaccination rates below 90 percent for kindergartners, the state said. A 90 percent to 95 percent vaccination rate is considered “herd immunity,” the rate necessary to protect a community – particularly those who are too sick or too young to be vaccinated – from an outbreak of many types of contagious diseases. Measles, which is highly contagious, requires a 95 percent vaccination rate to protect the community, health officials say.

While personal belief exemptions are no longer granted, 0.6 percent of kindergartners were not vaccinated because of a personal belief exemption they had obtained a year earlier in transitional kindergarten. The law stated that their exemption would continue to be valid in kindergarten. All told, 1.5 percent of kindergartners lacked required immunizations in 2016-17, a decline from the 2.5 percent rate in 2015-16, because of medical exemptions, previously awarded personal belief exemptions or enrollment in home schooling, independent study or special education, the state said.

At hearings at the state Capitol, hundreds of parents vociferously pleaded with legislators not to repeal the personal belief exemption. But public health advocates prevailed.

Percentimmunized-chart

Credit: California Department of Public Health

Source: California Department of Public Health

In California and elsewhere, nonmedical exemptions have created pockets of unvaccinated children that have facilitated the spread of potentially life-threatening diseases, particularly measles and pertussis, according to a 2016 research review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2016.

The most at-risk groups for the diseases are infants who are too young to be vaccinated and individuals with compromised immune systems.

 

MedicalExemptions-chart

Credit: California Department of Public Health

Source: California Department of Public Health

 

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  1. DanJeddy 10 months ago10 months ago

    Seems there would be enough home schooled and private/parochial school students to justify hiring of vaccinated teachers for special education services that are typically given in a non-public school. Seems that denying needed speech therapy, etc. to these students is punitive, and has nothing to do with concern of spreading disease. Also, what about kids with known MTHFR defects that are associated with autism and autoimmune disorders? Sounds like a form of genocide … Read More

    Seems there would be enough home schooled and private/parochial school students to justify hiring of vaccinated teachers for special education services that are typically given in a non-public school. Seems that denying needed speech therapy, etc. to these students is punitive, and has nothing to do with concern of spreading disease. Also, what about kids with known MTHFR defects that are associated with autism and autoimmune disorders? Sounds like a form of genocide for select population. Parents can test children at 23 and Me for a mere $199, and parents in California would be cray not to test kids and to vaccinate them if significant defects with MTHFR and others associated with autism are found.

  2. James Solbakken 1 year ago1 year ago

    It might help if you could refrain from using condescending terms like “herd immunity,” which make it sound like the ruling class scumbags think of us as their livestock and chattel.

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  3. Tai Wade 2 years ago2 years ago

    You guys are right in your comments. I’m not getting my child injected with poison!!! Please refer me to a doctor in the Los Angeles area for an exemption letter someone!!!

    Replies

    • Angel Nguyen 1 year ago1 year ago

      Hi Tai,

      I just came across your comment, I was wondering if you may help me and my family out. Did you ever find a doctor around the Los Angels area that help you with an exemption letter?

  4. Christina Hildebrand 2 years ago2 years ago

    I am a market researcher by career and so look at data and know how you can make data tell any story. The data in this summary looks manipulated to tell the story that they want to hear. As an advocate against SB277, I will tell you another story the data tells: • Why did it take until April of this year to release the data, which is usually released the first few weeks in … Read More

    I am a market researcher by career and so look at data and know how you can make data tell any story. The data in this summary looks manipulated to tell the story that they want to hear. As an advocate against SB277, I will tell you another story the data tells:

    • Why did it take until April of this year to release the data, which is usually released the first few weeks in January? Maybe because they were trying to get more data, or work out how to spin the data? Note: last year’s data was published on 1/19/16.
    • 446 California elementary schools, including 362 private schools and 84 public schools, did not report their immunization data. This is 5.4% of the schools that did not report, compared to 3.3% of that in 2015 year.
    • How many children were eligible for kindergarten in 2016? How many of those homeschooled or did not go to kindergarten (not required in CA this year) instead? You have a law that mandates all kids in school to be vaccinated, but the data only shows those kids, not the ones that are kindergarten aged that are not in school or homeschool. So you would expect the vaccine rates to be 100% minus the number that have a medical exemption or IEP.
    • Realistically if you look at the numbers on page 16. The real story becomes clear. The increase in vaccinations comes primarily from conditional entrants. Increase in all required immunizations = 2.8%. Decrease in conditional entrants = -2.5%. Is this because the school reporting was delayed until April when most of the conditional entrants would have been up to date because they completed the series and no longer be conditional? Or was it that the second measles vaccine (MMR) was the culprit of the conditional entrance because it is recommended to be given between 4-6 years so prior to this year parents got it during the kindergarten year, but it is now a requirement of kindergarten entrance. If the prior year’s data was looked at at the end of the kindergarten year, the numbers were likely similar.
    • From their caveats, “Part of the relative improvements in the completion rates of specific vaccines may have been due to the inclusion in reporting this year of doses received by partially immunized children who had PBEs or PMEs to other required immunizations. In reporting to CDPH during prior school years, doses received by children with exemptions were not included in completion rates for any specific vaccine. This may have resulted in underestimates of completion rates in prior years and overestimates of the increases in the completion rates for specific vaccines between 2016-2017 and prior years. The magnitude of the resultant increase to the rate of any immunization series in 2016-2017 resulting from this change in reporting could be no greater than 1.5%, the total of students reported in categories as not having to receive all required immunizations (PMEs, PBEs or the new category of other criteria specified in SB 277). This reporting change should not have affected rates, or changes in rates, for the category of having received all required vaccines.” Yet we don’t know if children were just missing one vaccine such as the chicken pox vaccine or the Hep B vaccine, and so were very close to being fully vaccinated last year, because they would have had to have a PBE and therefore none of their vaccines would have been counted. If they were just missing one vaccine it is likely their parents if forced would give that one. We don’t know that that was not the case last year and in years previous.
    • Another caveat given in the report…”The presence of incomplete records would underestimate immunization coverage. Any improvements over time in completion of records since the time of reporting would increase estimates of coverage.” And “Changes over time in the quality of reporting by schools are another potential explanation for changes in immunization rates.” We know that in 2016 before the start of the school year, the gauntlet was thrown down on schools with emails from CDPH and county health departments ensuring schools knew they had to submit vaccination rates and each parent was made to give their vaccination information before being allowed to apply at many public schools. Students without up to date vaccination information were not allowed to register for classes.

    Given all of this it is very hard to tell if vaccination rates really went up among all kindergartners in California. If I had to guess, it looks like the lift came from conditional entrants having higher vaccination rates, but each of the above may be contributors. It is not an apples-to-apples comparison year over year. I ask that you put the above into your article so it is clear that really it is not clear if there was a true raise in vaccine rates among kindergarten aged children or if it was just manipulated in the summary to look that way.

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    • Jane Meredith Adams 2 years ago2 years ago

      Hi, Christina. You are correct -- no doubt the increase in vaccination rates has to do at least in part to better reporting by parents and schools. The year to year comparisons rely on the accuracy of that reporting. I had questions, too, about why the data were so delayed. Didn't get a direct answer, but my understanding is the delay was because of the new category "other," which counts students who were not vaccinated … Read More

      Hi, Christina. You are correct — no doubt the increase in vaccination rates has to do at least in part to better reporting by parents and schools. The year to year comparisons rely on the accuracy of that reporting. I had questions, too, about why the data were so delayed. Didn’t get a direct answer, but my understanding is the delay was because of the new category “other,” which counts students who were not vaccinated because they were home-schooled, in independent study or, in some districts, were receiving special education services. That number wasn’t reported last year, so there is no information about whether more parents enrolled students in home-schooling or independent study after the law. And yes, 446 schools, or 5.4 percent, did not report this year, compared to 3.3 percent last year. Good to keep in mind.

  5. AL MCKNIGHT 2 years ago2 years ago

    Vaccination rates are at an all time high! Autism is at an all time high! Can anyone connect the dots? Does anyone care?

  6. Laura 2 years ago2 years ago

    Did you take into account the number of families that have fled the state of California or the 5 year olds that are being homeschooled? This horrible fascist draconian totalitarian law to force parents to inject their kids with multiple neurotoxins is mandatory because big pharma owns our media, doctors and legislators. It is the destruction of the future of our species on the planet. Now why don't you start counting the vaccine brain-injured kids. … Read More

    Did you take into account the number of families that have fled the state of California or the 5 year olds that are being homeschooled? This horrible fascist draconian totalitarian law to force parents to inject their kids with multiple neurotoxins is mandatory because big pharma owns our media, doctors and legislators. It is the destruction of the future of our species on the planet.

    Now why don’t you start counting the vaccine brain-injured kids. At the current trend by 2032 50% of our kids will be labeled autistic (vaccine brain injured) and that will be 80% of our boys. All to avoid what? Measles and chicken pox which every kid including myself had in childhood. Stop your fear porn and lies on the so called deadly disease. The deadly part are the toxins in the vaccines. Despite these types of articles parents are waking up across the world and learning that truth. In 20-30 years when we have no choice but to face the reality and truth. How is going to take care of these injured people and who is going to work and who is going to govern?

  7. Louise 2 years ago2 years ago

    Where there is risk there must be a choice! Please watch this mini documentary series that started yesterday where doctors & researchers shares the latest information on vaccines, ingredients, efficacy etc

  8. Tina Casey 2 years ago2 years ago

    This bullying and manipulation. Will they do a follow up on the increased rate of autism, allergies, behavioral issues and how in general today's kids are sicker than ever? These newly vaccinated kids will now be shedding the virus and contaminating everyone, even the vaccinated. When pharmaceutical companies become liable for vaccine injuries and they do adequate safety studies on the current vaccine schedule, then maybe they can be trusted. Any parent who does research … Read More

    This bullying and manipulation. Will they do a follow up on the increased rate of autism, allergies, behavioral issues and how in general today’s kids are sicker than ever? These newly vaccinated kids will now be shedding the virus and contaminating everyone, even the vaccinated. When pharmaceutical companies become liable for vaccine injuries and they do adequate safety studies on the current vaccine schedule, then maybe they can be trusted. Any parent who does research on vaccines will realize they are playing Russian roulette when vaccinating their children.
    Denying a child an education because a parent refuses to allow someone to inject toxins into their child is criminal. What happened to full informed consent and freedom of choice? Wake up people; do the research.

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    • Nicole 1 year ago1 year ago

      Well said.

  9. Jessica 2 years ago2 years ago

    California will prove to have the highest instances of sick children. Autism, eczema, encephalitis, flu, measles, all of it. Congratulations! I feel sorry for all the Californians that are awake and aware of the harms that vaccines have inflicted.

  10. Barb 2 years ago2 years ago

    To ensure full disclosure, this article should include the data related to all the children that have suffered disability and/or damage to their health as a result of receiving vaccines. This issue is definitely not as one-sided as this article and the Legislature want everyone to believe. Most children who are un-vaccinated are much healthier than those who have had vaccines. Could be because their parents care enough to … Read More

    To ensure full disclosure, this article should include the data related to all the children that have suffered disability and/or damage to their health as a result of receiving vaccines. This issue is definitely not as one-sided as this article and the Legislature want everyone to believe. Most children who are un-vaccinated are much healthier than those who have had vaccines. Could be because their parents care enough to build their immunity through good nutrition and to not have disease germs for “10 serious communicable diseases” pumped into their tiny bodies. Where is the “responsible” journalism in this issue?

  11. mike 2 years ago2 years ago

    Almost 3 years ago, Dr. William Thompson, one of the senior scientists at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC for short) came forward publicly and basically said his agency was committing scientific fraud in their vaccine research. His comments are huge, because the entire vaccination program nationwide is based on the CDC’s own safety studies. Manipulating their results brings the entire program into question. It's recently learned that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee … Read More

    Almost 3 years ago, Dr. William Thompson, one of the senior scientists at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC for short) came forward publicly and basically said his agency was committing scientific fraud in their vaccine research.

    His comments are huge, because the entire vaccination program nationwide is based on the CDC’s own safety studies. Manipulating their results brings the entire program into question.
    It’s recently learned that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee of the U.S. Congress may now be officially investigating the matter.

    Replies