Phlawed Philosophy

Lauren LoftusOctober 2018
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Phoenix has a growing population of unvaccinated kids.

If you had to guess which P-town has the most unvaccinated children due to “philosophical reasons,” you’d say Portland, right? (Oregon or Maine faux-hippies, it doesn’t matter.) Wrong. It’s our P-town that takes this particular cake. According to a recent study out of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, the Phoenix Valley has the highest number of children whose parents chose not to vaccinate them against measles, mumps and rubella out of all cities in the 18 states that currently allow philosophical belief exemptions. In the 2016-2017 school year, Maricopa County issued 2,947 nonmedical exemptions; the next highest was Salt Lake County, Utah, with 956. In response to the study, Alexandra Bhatti, faculty associate with Arizona State University College of Health Solutions, spoke with ASU Now and offered a few reasons why Phoenician parents might seek an exemption. One might simply be because there’s no grace period or extension time for students to submit their immunization records to school. So rather than wait another year to enroll their kindergartner, parents check the “philosophy” box. But “there are also parents who choose to exempt their child due to concerns over vaccine safety or necessity” due to misinformation, Bhatti says. To get educated, she recommends visiting vaccinefactsandpolicy.org.

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