A rise in the number of parents opting not to vaccinate their kids has lead to anti-vaccine “hotspots” across the country, putting kids who live in those areas at particular risk of contracting preventable diseases, a new study has found.
Kids are usually required to receive certain vaccines (like measles, mumps and rubella) before they can enroll in school. Sometimes children can’t be fully vaccinated due to medical reasons, but 18 states currently allow parents to seek non-medical exemptions on the basis of religious or philosophical beliefs. Despite the fact that evidence linking vaccines to toxins, autism, ADHD or cancer simply doesn’t exist—and that evidence of the safety and efficacy of vaccines does—some people have shied away from vaccinating their kids.
Now, a study published in PLOS Medicine has found that the number of these non-medical exemptions is growing in 12 of those 18 states, and identified 15 metropolitan clusters where more than 5 percent of all kindergarten-age kids are unvaccinated.
“Our study of vaccine exemptions found that while nationally, immunization rates may have not changed much, we may have unmasked a number of both rural and urban hotspots where large…