Do you know where your state stacks up in terms of childhood vaccinations?
The states with the highest rates of refusing vaccinations are:
- Oregon 6.4%
- Vermont 5.7%
- Idaho 5.5%
- Michigan 5.3%
- Illinois 4.8%
- Alaska 4.0%
- Colorado 4.0%
- Wisconsin 4.0%
- Arizona 3.9%
- Maine 3.9%
The states with the lowest rates of vaccination refusals are:
- Mississippi 0.0% (voluntary exemptions are not allowed)
- South Carolina 0.0% (CDC has no data)
- West Virginia 0.0% (voluntary exemptions are not allowed)
- New Mexico 0.2%
- Virginia 0.4%
- Delaware 0.5%
- Kentucky 0.5%
- Louisiana 0.5%
- Alabama 0.6%
- New York 0.6%
You can view a map that lists current vaccination refusal rates for all 50 states here. Minnesota ranks in the middle, at 21st (with 1.6% opt-out rate).
How does this correlate with current disease rates in the U.S.?
To view current rates of illnesses that the U.S. vaccinates against, you can view this interactive map. Double click on the United States to zoom in. Hover over any dot to see what the illness is, which area of the state has reported it, and how many are known to be infected. You can also tick boxes by individual diseases to see the current outbreaks by each disease. Note that this is an incomplete map that relies on news reports of outbreaks.
The states that currently have the highest incidences of reported whooping cough outbreaks include California, Arizona, Wisconsin, Washington, Texas and New York. Arizona is in the top ten for vaccine opt-outs, while New York is one of the states with the fewest.
Measles is the only other disease that currently has a high incidence listed across the U.S. The map is deceptive, using the same size of dots for “outbreaks” of one case or dozens. For instance, Ohio has just a few dots but they represent hundreds of cases. On the other hand, California appears to have many cases of measles but some of the outbreak markers represent as few as one measles case each. See Data Reveals Measles Outbreaks Have Nothing to Do With Non-Vaccination Trends for more on the measles-vaccination correlation.
There are a few scattered cases of mumps listed and they are occurring in the following states: New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, California, Virginia, Iowa, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and one case each in Texas and North Carolina. With the exception of Wisconsin, none of these states are in the top ten for vaccine refusals. Two of these states (New York and Virginia) are among the top ten for complying with vaccinations.
There are currently no cases of polio or rubella listed in the United States. It is almost certain that there are currently cases of rubella, but this is generally such a benign disease in children that it is not likely to be reported. The CDC reports that the last cases of naturally occurring paralytic polio in the United States were in 1979. Since that time period, there have been 162 confirmed cases of paralytic polio cases reported. Eight of these cases were acquired outside the United States and imported. The remaining 154 cases were vaccine-associated paralytic polio caused by the live oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV). The CDC now recommends giving the IPV vaccine instead, since it cannot cause vaccine-associated paralytic polio.
The map is lacking for chicken pox information. Chicken pox is known to be common in the United States, but it only lists two instances of chicken pox, 100 cases in Indiana and 41 cases in Florida. These are both classified as epidemics.
Other diseases listed as vaccine-preventable that are currently listed in the United States include one case of typhoid fever in California, three cases of tetanus in Michigan, and five cases of bacterial meningitis in Colorado.
No matter where you stand on the vaccination issue, it’s important for parents to research childhood illnesses, vaccines and current outbreaks.
Remember, researching both sides of an issue is education; researching only one side is indoctrination. It can be hard to find neutral information on the vaccine issue, but researching from multiple sources on both sides can help give you the most comprehensive information.
Stay tuned for further articles on the vaccine issue in this column.
Next time: How hard is it in your state to get a vaccine exemption?
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