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Is your state a hotbed of pestilence? 2013 Edition.

August 22, 2013

Hi Reader.

Back when this blog was but an embryo, I wrote a post about the states with the highest rates of vaccine exemptions and the potential risks caused by these idiotic anti-vaxxers. And just in time for the school year, new data were recently released in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the CDC.

So which states are nasty-ass petri dishes currently in pre-outbreak mode? Is yours one of them? Who’s up and who’s down on the list? We must first acknowledge the state of Washington, which went from THE most pestilent state in 2011 down to #13 on the updated list. Why could this be, you are wondering? Well, my spidey sense says it may have something to do with the law that the state passed making it more difficult to obtain a non-medical exemption in the state. Congrats to Washington, which may fall off the pestilence list altogether in the very near future.

In contrast, we have the great state of Colorado, which barged its way up the list to the #7 spot after not being a contestant on the prior list, and boasting a full 4.0% of kindergarteners who are unvaccinated. Shields up, skiers! There are some serious clusters of unvaccinated roaming around there. Rocky mountain cry, Colorado.*

We also must give a kidney punch to Oregon, which has lodged itself in as the most pestilent state in the nation. Now, I love Oregon, and I even pronounce it correctly. I would no more put a “gone” on the end of the “Ore” than I would step on a rusty nail and try to treat the wound with colloidal silver. I spent much time there when I was just a young’un, and I do enjoy having someone else pump gas for me while I sit around.  But Oregon is also well known for an “alternative” mindset, which is probably why the folks over there have decided that they will eschew vaccinations. Oregonians, let go of that tree you are hugging and get your kiddoes immunized, please! Especially because you probably just gave the tree measles.

Anyway, it bears reminding that even though these exemption rates may look “low”, the target for vaccination coverage is 95%, and some states are falling below this on the basis of exemptions alone. As I have discussed here before, exemptions are rarely spread out evenly across the population of states; rather, they tend to occur in clusters, creating a time-release epidemic bomb in areas with high exemptions.  Check out the Pestilence List below and see if your state made the big time this year, and thanks for stopping by.

The 2013 Pestilence List: Top 15 states for kindergarten non-medical vaccine exemptions.

State % NME
1. Oregon 6.4
2. Vermont 5.7
3. Idaho 5.5
4. Michigan 5.3
5. Illinois 4.8
6. Alaska 4.0
7. Colorado 4.0
8.Wisconsin 4.0
9. Arizona 3.9
10.Maine 3.9
11. Utah 3.7
12.Washington 3.5
13. Montana 3.0
14. California 2.8
15. N.Hampshire 2.3

*Somewhere, John Denver weeps.

From → Uncategorized

  1. Jay Rosenbloom MD permalink

    I am proud to say this year Oregon passed Senate Bill 132 (even more stringent than Washington’s law). We expect the exemption rate to decrease by at least half in the next 3 years. It is embarrassing that we are #1 now, but are happy to give that distinction to anyone else who wants it ASAP.

    • That is great news, thanks for letting me know. I hope the exemption rate drops quickly. It looks like Vermont is fixin’ to take you guys down soon anyway.

  2. Sullivanthepoop permalink

    Another problem that this does not address is a problem like my state is having. Only 68% of children have all their recommended vaccines before 5. After 5 it is over 97%. That is still pretty scary if you are thinking about private daycare.

  3. Hey, and a person with measles just visited Oregon. What could possibly go wrong?

    • Ohhhh nooooooo! And in Portland, to boot. If I had to guess I would think Portland is definitely a hotbed of pestilence within a hotbed of pestilence. As a side note the measles person sure likes to get his/her shopping on.

  4. MI Dawn permalink

    It’s really sad for me to read that Michigan, my home state, and Arizona, where a family member lives, are both on that list. Although I have to wonder if the economic state of many people living in Michigan might be related to that score, rather than that many woo-heads.

    • Hi Dawn,

      You bring up a good point. But to clarify, this post was not about those who are unvaccinated or undervaccinated because of issues with access to healthcare. These statistics are specifically for those who choose not to vaccinate. And we know from the literature that those people tend to be middle class, white, and have some college education. So it is less likely that the poor economy is to blame in either MI or AZ.

      Nonetheless your point is well-taken; while ripping the anti-vaxxers, we must also stay on top of making sure that underserved populations maintain their access to cheap, readily available vaccine programs.

    • Beana permalink

      I was surprised to see Michigan up so high too, but then I thought about it, and all of the anti-vaxx memes that my highschool ‘friends’ post on facebook. Middle -class, white, have no idea what it means to be sick. My generation still had some diseases not vaccinated back then, but we seem to have forgotten what our parents had to live through. And they have to have something to blame for their children’s ADD or asthma or allergies. It could never be the perfect parents fault. SOMETHING is in that syringe! SOMETHING is in the food! The water! I am very disappointed in my generation, we seem to have lost what we learned about science and technology and have reverted back to some sort of life on the prairie that never existed. Maybe its our age kicking in? Absolute travesty, the loss of logical thinking in this country.

  5. Hilarious Video on Vaccines

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