By Anne Dachel
Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump. The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and OurKidsASD, an online supplement retailer for patients with special needs.
Hundreds of news sites across the country are covering a study published in the journal Pediatrics. This research shows significant numbers of "under-immunized" and un-vaccinated "clusters" in California. It seems the timing is perfect. How convenient that this study was just waiting in the wings. We're currently seeing massive coverage of a measles outbreak being tied to the unvaccinated at Disneyland. The message is clear: The unvaccinated are lurking everywhere and they have the potential to harm us all.
Why isn't this same information being used for a vaccinated/unvaccinated study?
Wouldn't this be a perfect opportunity to see what the health differences are in these groups? Are the under-immunized and unvaccinated also plagued with the same chronic health conditions and disorders that fully vaccinated children are?
No one seems interested in finding out.
Here are some examples of the coverage.
Researchers used spatial analysis software and electronic medical records to identify clusters of underimmunization and vaccine refusal among Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California, according to a study published today in the journal Pediatrics. . .
The study reviewed the immunization records of more than 154,000 Kaiser Permanente Northern California members between birth and 3 years old. All the children were born between 2000 and 2011 and were covered continuously by Kaiser Permanente, which provides health care for about 40 percent of the insured population in 13 Northern California counties. To identify the clusters of underimmunization and vaccine refusal, researchers used sophisticated spatial analysis software, which allowed them to examine health factors in relation to geography.
Underimmunization ranged from 18 percent to 23 percent within clusters, compared with 11 percent outside clusters. Between 2010 and 2012, geographic clusters of underimmunization were found in:
- the East Bay (Richmond to San Leandro);
- Sonoma and Napa counties;
- a small area of east Sacramento;
- northern San Francisco and southern Marin counties; and
- a small area of Vallejo.
"It's known from other studies that areas where there are clusters of vaccine refusal are at higher risk of epidemics, such as whooping cough epidemics," said lead investigator Dr. Tracy Lieu, a pediatrician and director of the division of research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, in Oakland.
"Clusters may deserve special outreach efforts to make sure parents have all the information they need to make informed decisions about vaccination," she said.
Specifically, the researchers found the rate of missed vaccinations within these clusters ranged from 18 percent to 23 percent, compared with a rate of missed vaccinations outside the clusters of 11 percent.
Here a doctor recommends that ALL CHILDREN get the measles vaccine.
As a measles outbreak spreads rapidly across Southern California and beyond, scientists have identified clusters of under-immunization in communities in 13 counties in the northern portion of the state.
Poring over electronic medical records of children who received care in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California system and mapping the data to home addresses, health plan researchers found five statistically significant hotbeds of under-immunization - locations where relatively higher percentages of children missed one or more recommended vaccine doses. . .
A number of factors may have been at work, Lieu said. People in highly educated communities may actively opt out of vaccines, believing that immunizations may cause autism or that administering too many at once might overwhelm children's immune systems, despite evidence to the contrary. . . .
He said the Kaiser data also marked an improvement over school vaccine exemption data for entering kindergartners that are often studied because the medical records let researchers analyze immunizations trends for particular vaccines. "These are the most compelling data I have seen that have shown that the rates of parents refusing and delaying vaccines is increasing," he said.
Researchers are discussing repeating the analysis among patients in the health system's Southern California region, a Kaiser Permanente spokesman said Friday.
Businessweek Anti-Vaccine Parents Found to Stay Together as Ranks Grow
The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and OurKidsASD. Lee Silsby is one of the most respected compounding pharmacies in the country and is committed to serving the needs of the Autism community. OurkidsASD is an online retailer for nutritional supplements for patients with special needs. OurkidsASD carries thousands of products from more than 60 brands and offers free ground shipping on all orders.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism and author of The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public, which is on sale this Fall from Skyhorse Publishing.