Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Social epidemiology of who does not get vaccinated

This post on who is actually refusing vaccination for their children is interesting indeed.  Consider:
 As Seitz-Wald explains, the unvaccinated kids are clustered in some of the wealthiest schools and neighborhoods, particularly in California, where some extremely expensive private schools have vaccination compliance rates as low as 20 percent. Anti-vaccination sentiment has been stereotyped as a mindless lefty cause, but in reality, Republicans are slightly more likely to oppose vaccination than Democrats. The real correlation is between having a lot of money and class privilege and opposing vaccination.
 This puts the whole issue of selfish behavior in a completely different context.  Especially as failing to vaccinate an older child can result in the infection of younger children.  So people with the most resources are deliberating deciding not to support the social good of reducing the burden of infectious disease among children? 

The speculation about reasons is unclear, but the most grisly possibility is that it is a status symbol showing that a special class of people should not have to follow the rules.  There is very little public health justification for exempting people because they want to feel special and like the rules do not apply to them.  We did not create special person exemptions with the prohibition of dumping raw sewage on the streets or dropping your garbage into city parks, we should not do it here. 

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