In a California Healthline Special Report, several experts on childhood vaccines and diseases discussed efforts to increase vaccination rates in California and the U.S.
The Special Report includes comments from:
- CDC spokesperson Curtis Allen;
- Assembly member Juan Arambula (D-Fresno);
- Catherine Flores Martin, director of the California Immunization Coalition;
- Gena Lewis, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Oakland; and
- Yvonne Maldonado, an epidemiologist at Stanford University.
More than one if four children in the U.S. is out of compliance with federally recommended childhood vaccination guidelines, according to CDC. Public health officials are concerned that missed vaccinations could make communities vulnerable to childhood diseases that have been suppressed for decades.
California and 47 other states allow parents to opt-out of vaccination requirements for religious or philosophical reasons. In some counties, up to 15% of parents have opted out.
Nationwide, CDC has recorded 64 cases of measles so far this year. In all but one of those cases, vaccinations could not be documented, according to Allen.
Lewis said reports in the media of parents claiming a link between the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal and autism have prompted many parents to question vaccination.
Maldonado said vaccination programs in a way have become victims of their own success.
“We are very cavalier about these illnesses [because] we don’t see them,” she said, adding, “But that’s because we’re vaccinating and keeping them at bay” (Kennedy, California Healthline, 5/12).