Saturday, November 01, 2003

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- As the United Kingdom braces for an impending measles outbreak this winter due to low vaccination rates, U.S. health experts say this raises concerns the deadly disease could spread to the United States, particularly considering immunization rates in some states have fallen to dangerously low levels.
I thought every kid in this country got their MMR shots. I remember missing the first day of 6th grade because I was tardy in getting my MMR booster and my hometown public school wouldn't admit me without it.
In the United States, MMR vaccine coverage is about 91.6 percent, but "we hear anecdotal reports of lower coverage in certain areas," CDC's Orenstein said.

Several areas have rates of only 87 percent or lower, including Arizona (except for Maricopa County), Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Shelby County, Tenn., Houston and parts of Colorado.
Were vaccines less strongly required back in the day, implying that with time coverage will get better? Nope:
"The real threat is the same thing that has driven down immunization rates in the United Kingdom and Japan and that is parental resistance to having their children immunized," Griffin said.

In Colorado, for example, there are communities "where close to 20 percent of kids are not immunized," she said. "All you need is the introduction of a case and since its constantly happening in the United States all you need is a case to occur in those vulnerable communities" for an epidemic to take hold, she said.
How depressing. Many parents apparently believe measles is no longer a serious threat, hence measles will become a serious threat. Is this more a case of the tragedy of the commons or of the human proclivity for quackery?

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