Kids are Back at School and Vaccinations Rates are Low

As the schools year begins, administrators note vaccination rates among students at public schools is down. This decrease in turn has caused an increase in risk for childhood diseases. Almost all states allow vaccine exemption for religious reasons, and some for philosophical reasons.

According to an NBC News report, vaccination exemptions in Dallas, Texas have tripled in the last seven years. This movement has primarily been provoked by a demographic of upper-middle class mothers. A mother of four who desired to remain anonymous disclosed,

We’re concerned about the number of ingredients in vaccines. There are a number of different ones we don’t know about.”

Such allowances put other children at risk of contracting highly infectious diseases, such as mumps, from children whose parents’ have waived vaccination. For this reason, health professionals are urging parents to get their children vaccinated and continue to look for new ways to combat the rising rates of parents taking advantage of exemptions.

In a study published in the September 2014 issue of Pediatrics, researchers examined the most influential reasoning by doctors to convince parents to vaccinate their children. Previous data has indicated that emphasis on the society benefits of vaccinations has led to increases in vaccinations rates of adults. The vaccination in question was that of MMR (measles-mumps-rubella)- three diseases with high rates of infection due to their air-born natures.

Researchers found that the most effective way of increasing vaccinations among children was by appealing to the parent’s sense of wellbeing for their child, rather than stressing the societal benefits. The study consisted of 802 parents with children under the age of 12 months. Without mentioning of the direct benefits to the child, the societal benefits were not influential enough to influence decisions of the parents. According to the study,

Mentioning societal benefits seems to neither add value to, nor interfere with, information highlighting benefits directly to the child.

With this in mind, health professionals recommend parents get their children vaccinated as doing so is the best way to protect them from infectious diseases that have dire implications, for both the child and those around him or her. As children head back into the classroom, an unvaccinated child is both a risk to other students as well as at risk of contracting childhood diseases that were once eradicated by high vaccinations rates.


Read more here- “Vaccine Message Framing and Parents’ Intent to Immunize Their Infants for MMR,” (Kristin S. Hendrix, S. Maria E., Gregory D. Zimet, et al., Pediatrics Journal)

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Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.


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