In fact, looking at the latest reports of vaccine rates, health
officials found that even more parents statewide are foregoing the
whooping cough and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines.
Parents are also increasingly opting out of the polio vaccine. Seventeen
years ago, 95.4 percent of kindergarteners in Washington state were
vaccinated for polio.
It’s even more dramatic in Seattle, where 81.4 percent of
kindergarteners have been vaccinated for polio. That’s lower than the
2013 polio immunization rates for 1-year-olds in Zimbabwe, Rwanda,
Algeria, El Salvador, Guyana, Sudan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and
Yemen, among other countries, according to data from the World Health
Where are those rates the highest (from 2014-2015 school year in SPS)? Greenwood, Orca K-8, Salmon Bay K-8 Pathfinder K-8 and Loyal Heights.
What's up with these K-8s?
Think polio is long ago and far away? Not really (my own sister had polio and suffers to this day - many of her friends died). This woman's story in the KUOW piece echoes my family's.
“When I would complain, be upset that I hurt, that I had to wear
high-top shoes or a brace, Mother would say, ‘It could be so much worse.
Think about Nora, the little girl who died. You’re able to walk,’” she
said. “I grew up knowing that I was lucky. I still carry that with me.
It could have been so much worse. Parents at that time were grateful
that their children lived.”
“There’s a reason there hasn’t been polio since 1979, and that’s the
vaccine,” Whitehead said, referring to the date when polio was believed
to have been eradicated from the U.S.
To note, California has passed new laws that eliminate exemptions for religious convictions or "personal beliefs." I hope Washington State does this.
California’s previous policy had grown so lax that in some schools only
half of the students have completed the required vaccinations, making
those schools more susceptible to the spread of disease. A measles
outbreak at Disneyland last December sickened 131 people in California, a
fifth of them badly enough to require hospitalization, and infected 16
people in six other states as well. Most of those infected had not been