A new law may be reversing a rise in the percent of kindergarteners exempt from vaccinations in Marin County, county officials said.
Between 2002 and 2012 the percent of kindergarteners exempt from vaccinations jumped from 3.7 percent to 7.8 percent.
A law that went into affect last year requires parents who don’t want their child to be vaccinated to have a conversation about immunization with a healthcare provider.
By the end of the year, the percent of kindergarteners that did not get vaccinations dropped to 6.5 percent.
Marin County public health officer Dr. Matt Willis in a statement that parents are trying to navigate the best choices for their children and don’t always have access to the facts:
“When parents really understand the risk of disease and the safety of the vaccines that prevent disease, more choose to immunize their children.”
The change is pleasing to county officials who have said that in some schools more than 50 percent of kindergarteners are exempt from vaccinations.
Marin County Immunization program public health nurse Danielle Hiser in a statement that it’s a particular concern this year with 59 cases of measles reported so far statewide:
“We’re lucky that we haven’t had any measles cases in Marin yet because the disease spreads quickly in under-vaccinated communities. A recent Disneyland outbreak is an unfortunate reminder of how low vaccination rates are not just a hypothetical threat, but a real one.”