SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Bay Area is home to pockets of unvaccinated school children numbering in the thousands and according to data from the California Department of Public Health, Marin public schools showed some of the lowest vaccination rates in the state while many private religious and Waldorf schools also reported a majority of students not up to date on vaccines.
Marin County — which has one of the highest opt-out rates in the state — saw its first two cases linked to the national measles outbreak diagnosed on Wednesday.
In reviewing data for Alameda County and Marin County–two places where the “anti-vaxxer” movement has been especially strong–data shows several schools with a majority of students unvaccinated. These were often small schools with only one or two kindergarten classes.
Marin County stands out for reporting several public schools where the majority of kindergartners are unvaccinated, including San Geronimo Elementary where of the 19 kindergartners are not up to date on their vaccines while 3 have received all their shots– a rate of 84 percent of students not protected from things like polio, measles, mumps, and chicken pox.
Of the 18 kindergartners at Greenwood School, a private elementary school in Mill Valley, only 7 of the 18 kindergartners are fully up-to-date with vaccinations.
“It’s pretty hard for us to say to a family ‘you have to be vaccinated’ when the state says you don’t have to be vaccinated,” Greenwood’s Head of School, Archie Douglas told KPIX 5.
“Children are infectious up to four days before they develop symptoms, so we want to make sure that protection is built in,” Marin County Health Officer Matt Willis said addressing a potential outbreak earlier this week.
Parents can check the data for their child’s school’s kindergarten class in the 142-page PDF report.
COMPLETE LIST OF ALL CALIFORNIA KINDERGARTEN CLASSES: 2014-15 CA Kindergarten Data
At Bolinas-Stinson Elementary in Marin County, only 2 of the 11 kindergartners are up-to-date. For the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine only, these schools report 26-36 percent vaccination rates.
Searching for schools with “Waldorf” in their school name, up-to-date rates were as low as the 20 percent range for many kindergarten classes, with several more showing the majority of kindergartners were not vaccinated properly at the time the data was collected.
“Up-to-date” according to the CDPH means kindergartners have “four doses of polio vaccine (three doses are acceptable if at least one dose was received on or after the fourth birthday); and five DTP/DT vaccine doses (four doses are acceptable if at least one dose was received on or after the fourth birthday); and two doses of measles-containing vaccine, at least one of which must be measles, mumps, and rubella combined. Both doses must have been received on or after the first birthday; and three doses of hepatitis B vaccine; and one dose of varicella vaccine or physician-documented varicella (chickenpox) disease.”
Earlier this week KPIX 5 reported that one Marin family has called for a ban on unvaccinated children attending class, citing the fact that their child – who could not be vaccinated due to leukemia treatments – and others are placed at a greater risk of infection.
“I think every child in a public school needs to be vaccinated from those kind of diseases or they shouldn’t be allowed to go to the school,” mother Susan Cox said.
As of January 28th, there were 79 confirmed cases of measles in California in twelve counties, including Alameda, San Mateo, Marin and Santa Clara Counties.
LATEST CASES: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Measles.aspx
Confirmed Measles Cases in California by Local Health Jurisdiction since December 2014 (Last updated: January 30, 2015)
|Total number of confirmed cases|
|City of Long Beach**||2|
|City of Pasadena**||3|
|SAN MATEO||3 (A third case was confirmed late Friday)|
* 91 confirmed measles cases
Of these, 58 have some identified epi-linkage to Disneyland, 40 cases have primary linkages to Disney (as employees or visitors) where they are presumed to have been exposed, 18 cases are secondary or tertiary cases to the above 40.