Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bingo: We Can Stop Blaming California for the Anti-Vaxxer Movement in the Nation

Big Sur: California likes to export pictures of purple sage, green trees and sparkling blue water, not diseases and dangerous anti-vaccine philosophy. (Attribution at bottom)

After a month or more of us West Coast dwellers being punched around by the media over "California's elitist anti-vaxxer movement" screwing up the nation's "herd immunity", one Twitter poster (who does a lot of this kind of stuff on important subjects) published a list of where immunity in children was the lowest, and it wasn't California.  It was the Midwest and South.

I don't know about you, but most of what I hear about the MidWest and South about California is not a worshipful pledge to do everything California style.  Mostly it sounds like barely controlled cuss word replacements.  So telling people that all those anti-vaxxers in the MidWest and South are influenced by people they consider "hippies" doesn't fly.

I failed apparently to save the graphic on that, but found some info tonight from the CDC on vaccination levels in various states instead of lumping them into regions, but California isn't even mentioned.

Again the states mentioned as low vaccination spots are not places that people sit around and wonder how most to be "Californian".  They might throw you out of the house if you implied they did.

So this doesn't lump states into the regions of the chart I failed to save, but it's enlightening.

In 2013, wide geographic variation in vaccination coverage was observed among the states (Table 3). Coverage for ≥1 MMR dose ranged from 86.0% (Colorado, Ohio, and West Virginia) to 96.3% (New Hampshire). Coverage ranged from 74.3% (Arkansas) to 93.3% (Massachusetts) for ≥4 DTaP doses, from 44.8% (Vermont) to 88.0% (Kentucky) for HepB (birth dose), from 33.6% (Wyoming) to 72.1% (Connecticut) for ≥2 HepA doses, from 56.0% (Arkansas) to 84.4% (Rhode Island) for rotavirus, and from 57.1% (Arkansas) to 82.1% (Rhode Island) for the combined vaccine series.
Unknown to me is the demographics of the mentioned state. For instance I lower the measles immunization rate in California because I was born before they were given even at the age of 7, and like most in my day gained by future immunity the "natural way" because I had no choice.  I'd have taken the shots if I could. Compared to the disease, it's a holiday.

But the state most effectively keeping children from vaccinations is Poverty:
DTaP, PCV, and Hib coverage were 8 to 12 percentage points lower for children living below the poverty level compared with children living at or above the poverty level. Parents and caregivers of children living below poverty might face additional challenges in maintaining well-child visits and thus be more likely to fall behind on booster doses. Children living below poverty also had rotavirus coverage that was 13 percentage points lower than that of children living at or above the poverty level. The first dose of rotavirus vaccine should be given before age 14 weeks and 6 days, and the final dose should be given by 8 months (3). Children living below poverty might be more likely to miss these milestones and thus not able to start or complete the series. The Vaccines for Children program likely has been successful in reducing differences in vaccination coverage between children living at or above poverty level compared with those below the poverty level for these vaccines and in removing poverty differences for vaccines such as MMR and varicella (1). To further reduce disparities, clinician and system-based interventions should be targeted to communities with a high proportion of the population living below the poverty level. Interventions to improve parental knowledge about vaccines and to further facilitate access to vaccinations can also help to reduce disparities in coverage.

So, can we please give California a break, stop blaming it for lapses in vaccination, and GTF together to make sure that children have the transportation, and access to medical care including vaccinations they need and their parents even want, but can't find time or energy to get their children to the doctor after working 1-2 jobs and lacking help around the house.

And how about a nice pin saying "Because my parents love me they D'tapped me 2 (or 1 to 4 whatever) times!"

Hopefully someone can explain what that means before the cops show up at your door, but it might get some attention and let people know that vaccination is considered good, not evil by most families.

Picture at top clipped and used by permission CC by 2.0 thanks to flickr user Dawn Ellner aka flickr name *~Dawn~* who has no connection to this blog or blogger

Lower picture (stop sign) clipped and used via Creative Commons License Attribution CC by 2.0 thanks to Steve Johnson aka flickr name Steve A Johnson who has no connection to this blog or blogger.

Many flickr users have two names representing them on flickr.  I assume the reason is that they want to be known by their real name for future acknowledgement, fame, but flickr requires a unique name for search purposes.  I try to comply with using both names of those who have two such identifications.