SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — New data shows several schools in northern California have alarmingly low immunization rates.
This comes as concerns about the spread of measles are rising nationwide. Doctors say 99% of students at school need to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity.
Data from the California Department of Public Health shows several schools in Sacramento and surrounding counties with immunization rates of 50% or less.
“If they say to get them, I feel people should get them. It helps all of us to stay safe and clean and vaccinated,” said Kimberley Seeber, a Sacramento resident.
Seeber doesn’t take risks when it comes to shots. Both of her kids are vaccinated against measles, including her 3-year-old. But other parents are not doing the same.
“When you don’t have herd immunity, such as schools with less than half of kids immunized, it makes it very easy for this infection to spread,” said Dr. Peter Beilenson with the Sacramento County Department of Health Services
At Sierra Waldorf School in Jamestown, just 7% of students have all their vaccinations. Dr. Beilenson said some parents wrongly believe the measles vaccination is dangerous.
“There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that it causes any kind of negative conditions for kids, including autism,” he said.
In 2015, California passed a law that got rid of personal-belief exemptions for vaccinations. However, reports show medical exemptions have more than tripled since then. State lawmakers claim many of these exemptions are fraudulent.
“It’s a combination of both parents thinking the diseases are gone that we don’t have measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, etc when we do as well as some parents who are anti-vaccination,” Dr. Beilenson said.
State Senator Richard Pan has introduced a new law aimed at reducing fraudulent vaccination exemptions. The law would give state health officials, rather than doctors, more control over when medical exemptions are approved.