More Arizona parents saying no to vaccinations - WNEM TV 5

More Arizona parents saying no to vaccinations

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A local push is on to make sure kids have their shots for school, but health officials are facing an uphill battle.  The number of parents choosing not to get their children immunized is rising.

New numbers show more parents are filling out personal beliefs exemption forms to opt out of getting their kids vaccinated.  Over the last decade, the Arizona Department of Health Services has seen a rise from 1.6% in exemptions to 4.7 %

That equals to thousands of kids not getting vaccinated.  Local and state health officials say the rise of parents not vaccinating their children is alarming and puts the entire community at risk.  They say the reasons why parents are opting out vary from medical to misinformation on vaccines. 

The Pima County Health Department says the outbreak of whooping cough last year at Vail School District is a perfect example.  Many kids who were not vaccinated during that whopping cough outbreak had to be taken out of school.

Kathy Malkin, with Pima County Health Department said, "There's something called herd immunity. So the greater the percentage of people that are immunized against a particular disease, the less chance of that disease getting a foothold in your community and affecting those people who can't get the vaccines for whatever reason."

Local health officials are working towards a possible change in Arizona law that would make it more difficult for parents to opt out.  Also, state health officials are teaming up with the University of Arizona to come up with a plan to encourage families to get their children vaccinated. Click here for more information on the action plan being created. 

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