Vaccination Exemption Hot Spots: Be a Child's Shot@Life

Typically HERD IMMUNITY is considered appropriate when 90 to 95% of the population is vaccinated. Since the autism-vaccine scare, there's been an increasing number of children not vaccinated.  Often these anti-vaccine hot spots are located within affluent regions like Marin County, California. The community with the HIGHEST EXEMPTION RATE is Ashland, Oregon where about 30% of children haven't received their childhood vaccinations.  My adopted home state, New Jersey, saw exemptions rise by 800% from 2005 and 2010 - but fortunately those granted exemptions account for only .8% of parents. More Parents Seek Vaccine Exemptions, Wall Street Journal, 2010


Awesome Mom said...

I live in Marin county and I was soo paranoid about anyone even looking at my baby girl before she got any of her shots. It irritates me that my kids are going to school with unvaccinated kids.

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Maybe you should ask for proof of vaccination before scheduling any play dates! That's the price of living in beautiful Marin Co.!

Anonymous said...

A very cogent theory is that autism is actually a neuroimmune/ autoimmune disorder. Interestingly, many children with 'autism' have a family history rife with autoimmune disorders (rheumatoid arthritis, Diabetes 1, Celiac, Crohn's), which suggests a genetic vulnerability to an immune system malfunction.

Vaccines have been known to trigger autoimmune disorders - my neighbor was in a wheelchair from Guillain-Barre for three years following the Swine Flu vaccine back in '76. (She's lucky - 30 people died from the vaccine)

Just recently in Finland a version of the swine flu vaccine manufactured by Pandemrix caused an especially virulent form of narcolepsy, an autoiommune disorder, in children. Now, many Fins received the shot and were just fine. But the victims all shared a genetic type and were children. What's interesting is that 1/3 of all Fins have this genetic type, but 1/3 of Finns aren't falling asleep on the road and at the Nokia factory. But something about the combination of the shot given at a certain stage of development of their immune system in a genetically predisposed population triggered an autoimmune disease. So, if vaccines can trigger autoimmune disorders, why not autism?

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Hi Anony! Interesting. But even if autoimmune disease is a risk factor for autism, the large epidemiological studies have routinely failed to find a link between autism and vaccines so the autoimmunity if valid would only explain a small percentage of cases (if the theory is that vaccine triggers autism in those w underlying autoimm. disease).

Vaccines have routinely been shown not "to cause" autism so we have to look elsewhere.

I've heard a lot about swine flu vaccine and GB, thought most experts dismissed link but will have to go back and look now. It was in the news with H1N1 a few years ago.

Liz Ditz said...

San Francisco Bay Area residents wanting to check immunization statuses at their local schools can go to

Sonoma County is actually worse than Marin for immunization refusal hot-spots.

The research into GB & H1N1 is ongoing, see and

"A low risk of GBS following H1N1 that is not clearly higher than that of seasonal influenza vaccines"

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Thanks, Liz. You got to the GB before I could, have to read.

Awesome Mom said...

Liz thanks for that website, it really opened my eyes. The school my kids go to has a 12% exemption rate which means the herd immunity is not a robust as I would like. I guess my hermit antisocial nature is keeping my little kids safer from their disease ridden peers.