Which American cities have lowest herd immunity due to anti-vaxxers?

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/06/14/measles-resurgent.html


Not surprised about King County WA, but I am surprised nowhere in SoCal made the list. Disneyland had an outbreak of measles just a few years ago. While that might not be due to residents, it’s still a huge disease vector.

Also my former hometown of Ventura County has a looooottt of anti-vaxxers. My own brother and his wife among them.


ISTR that California eliminated the legal provision for “Non-medical Exemptions.” So the Anti vaxxers are either lying on their admission paperwork or browbeating a pediatrician into giving them a medical exemption.


Hotez said he did not know what factors were behind the high exemption rates in some of the rural places;

Sorry, Cory. While I am not a fan of anti-vaxxers either, perhaps you’re reaching again? Maybe there is a disparity between the cost of vaccinations and what the family has in disposable income? Until they know reasons, I think we should suspend judgement.


The situation in King County is bad because the Somali population are resistant to vaccinations for a variety of reasons: http://www.withinreachwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Ali_Somali_Oct12.pdf


Boy, all that science’y stuff sure gets folks in a tizzy.


C’mon Cory! This study is about counties, not cities. There’s a difference!

Regardless, looking at the problem at the county- or city-level is just not good enough.* A more granular perspective is needed to really address the problem, because anti-vaxxing ideas spread through particular, vulnerable communities within cities, while they don’t spread through other communities in the same city (typically those that are more educated, but not neccesarily). A recent example of this happened last year, when there was a measles outbreak within the Somali community in Minneapolis, because of the high number of families in that community resistant to vaccination.

* Though it’s still a good idea to avoid places with low herd immunity.


Some don’t need much browbeating. (Australia, but they’re everywhere.)


Low vaccination rates in Detroit can easily be explained by the cost of fully immunizing your kids. Total cost of immunizations for our son’s first year of life was over $1750. Maybe we’re getting hosed on pricing in Michigan (we pay more for a lot of stuff here - especially services), maybe it’s this expensive everywhere.


That map uses absolute numbers when it should be using proportions of kids not vaccinated.

Edit: The other map in the article uses proportions.


Same here, based on articles like this one:

The scary thing was that these parents were affluent liberals and progressives who, in addition to over-reacting in their rightful distrust of big pharma, were also taking their kids on trips to places where they could pick up infectious diseases.

This result may be a combination of the crackdown @simonize describes, unaffordability in poorer areas, plus the fact that the counties in SoCal are large and diverse enough to counteract the effects of the anti-vaxxer woo.


I don’t think that’s true in this case. I live in Harris County, which is the third most populous in the US. Knowing that there are so many children not vaccinated in such a densely populated area is more important for knowing how at risk my child is. Rural areas where people have less contact and are farther apart are going to be less at risk for an outbreak even if the vaccination rates are extremely low on average.

I don’t know if this is really the issue. I didn’t have any health insurance most of the time my daughter was little. But because vaccinations are required for school, she got most of hers at free clinics. I was never charged for a vaccine until she got her varicella (optional at the time) and her HPV vaccines (still optional).

Maybe that’s just California?


Minneapolis has a problem with vaccination since the anti-vaxxers are preying on the local Somalia immigrant population with their pseudoscience. Andrew Wakefield had the gall to show up during the measles outbreak to sell his bullcrap. >:C


Both matter. The infectiveness of a disease is determined by probability of transmission from an infected person to a susceptible person when they come into contact, the number of contacts between susceptible people and infected people, and the average time that an infected person can infect a susceptible person. Population density (as well as other things like the way people interact) and the proportion of people vaccinated (as well as the vaccine’s effectiveness) all affect the number of contacts between people where an infected person could infect a susceptible person.

That’s true. The proportional map, however, includes many dense, urban counties. What would be most helpful is a mapped measure of risk.



Of course those that want this that will share the names of cooperative doctors with each other.

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They charge money for mandatory childhood immunizations in the US? Madness!

But then I remember, that’s what the US medical system is built on - madness.


From the Idaho Central District Heath Department:
"No child will be denied routine immunizations due to inability to pay. "

So, no, income not a factor in Idaho. Just selfish ignorance.

Utah: paid for. http://www.immunize-utah.org/vaccines%20for%20children%20program/parents.html#cost_of_vaccines

Washington: paid for. https://www.doh.wa.gov/ForPublicHealthandHealthcareProviders/PublicHealthSystemResourcesandServices/Immunization/ChildhoodVaccineProgram

Texas: paid for.

Pennsylvania: paid for

Money isn’t the problem.