Measles Outbreak in a Highly Vaccinated Population, San Diego, 2008: Role of the Intentionally Undervaccinated
ABSTRACT In January 2008, an intentionally unvaccinated 7-year-old boy who was unknowingly infected with measles returned from Switzerland, resulting in the largest outbreak in San Diego, California, since 1991. We investigated the outbreak with the objective of understanding the effect of intentional undervaccination on measles transmission and its potential threat to measles elimination.
We mapped vaccination-refusal rates according to school and school district, analyzed measles-transmission patterns, used discussion groups and network surveys to examine beliefs of parents who decline vaccination, and evaluated containment costs.
The importation resulted in 839 exposed persons, 11 additional cases (all in unvaccinated children), and the hospitalization of an infant too young to be vaccinated. Two-dose vaccination coverage of 95%, absence of vaccine failure, and a vigorous outbreak response halted spread beyond the third generation, at a net public-sector cost of $10 376 per case. Although 75% of the cases were of persons who were intentionally unvaccinated, 48 children too young to be vaccinated were quarantined, at an average family cost of $775 per child. Substantial rates of intentional undervaccination occurred in public charter and private schools, as well as public schools in upper-socioeconomic areas. Vaccine refusal clustered geographically and the overall rate seemed to be rising. In discussion groups and survey responses, the majority of parents who declined vaccination for their children were concerned with vaccine adverse events.
Despite high community vaccination coverage, measles outbreaks can occur among clusters of intentionally undervaccinated children, at major cost to public health agencies, medical systems, and families. Rising rates of intentional undervaccination can undermine measles elimination.
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ABSTRACT: Neoliberal cultural frames of individual choice inform mothers' accounts of why they refuse state-mandated vaccines for their children. Using interviews with 25 mothers who reject recommended vaccines, this article examines the gendered discourse of vaccine refusal. First, I show how mothers, seeing themselves as experts on their children, weigh perceived risks of infection against those of vaccines and dismiss claims that vaccines are necessary. Second, I explicate how mothers see their own intensive mothering practices-particularly around feeding, nutrition, and natural living-as an alternate and superior means of supporting their children's immunity. Third, I show how they attempt to control risk through management of social exposure, as they envision disease risk to lie in "foreign" bodies outside their networks, and, therefore, individually manageable. Finally, I examine how these mothers focus solely on their own children by evaluating-and often rejecting-assertions that their choices undermine community health, while ignoring how their children benefit from the immunity of others. By analyzing the gendered discourse of vaccines, this article identifies how women's insistence on individual maternal choice as evidence of commitment to their children draws on and replicates structural inequality in ways that remain invisible, but affect others.Gender & Society 10/2014; 28(5). DOI:10.1177/0891243214532711 · 2.41 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We summarized studies describing the prevalence of, trends in, and correlates of nonmedical exemptions from school vaccination mandates and the association of these policies with the incidence of vaccine-preventable disease. We searched 4 electronic databases for empirical studies published from 1997 to 2013 to capture exemption dynamics and qualitatively abstracted and synthesized the results. Findings from 42 studies suggest that exemption rates are increasing and occur in clusters; most exemptors questioned vaccine safety, although some exempted out of convenience. Easier state-level exemption procedures increase exemption rates and both individual and community disease risk. State laws influence exemption rates, but policy implementation, exemptors' vaccination status, and underlying mechanisms of geographical clustering need to be examined further to tailor specific interventions. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print September 11, 2014: e1-e23. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302190).American Journal of Public Health 09/2014; 104(11):e1-e23. DOI:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302190 · 4.23 Impact Factor