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Alice Mercer

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    • The team also identified five clusters where all vaccines were refused for the babies and toddlers in the study:

      • 10.2 percent of children in an area from El Cerrito to Alameda
      • 7.4 percent in northeastern San Francisco
      • 6.6 percent in Marin and southwest Sonoma counties
      • 5.5 percent in northeastern Sacramento County and Roseville
      • 13.5 percent of kids in a small area south of Sacramento

      Altogether, nearly 9,000 young children lived in these clusters.

      In nearly every case, vaccine-refusal clusters overlapped with large areas of under-immunization.

  • Measles
      Complications such as bronchopneumonia and otitis media occur in about 10%. Encephalitis occurs in 1/1,000 cases (fatal in 15% and neurologic sequelae in 25%). Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis is a rare but fatal complication.
  • Measles vaccine is given in combination with mumps and rubella (MMR). MMR vaccine: Malaise and fever, with or without a non-infectious rash in about 5%; up to 1% of recipients may develop parotitis, about 5% have swollen glands, stiff neck or joint pains. Transient arthralgias or arthritis may occur and are more common in postpubertal females.


    About 1/30,000 develop transient thrombocytopenia, 1/1 million develop encephalitis.

  • He videotaped the parents talking with their doctor about vaccines during a routine well-child visit. The doctors, he noticed, handled the conversation in one of two ways.

    The first, Opel calls "presumptive."

    "The doctor," he noticed, "just simply presumed that the parent was going to be fine with the vaccines that the doctor was going to recommend," saying something like " 'So, Johnnie's due for DTaP and Hib today' – period. Move on."

    Some other doctors, Opel observed, invited parents to discuss their feelings about vaccines — "sort of invoking a shared decision-making approach, inviting the parent to be part of this conversation." These doctors, he says, were more likely to ask, " 'So, Mom: What do you want to do about vaccines today?' "

    The study's surprising results: When doctors assumed parents would be OK with vaccines, they were. More than 70 percent had their child vaccinated.

    On the other hand, when physicians were more flexible and allowed for discussion, most of the parents — 83 percent — decided against vaccination.

  • a study by Brendan Nyhan at Dartmouth, and he and his colleagues found that messages that tout the health benefits and the safety of vaccines are most effective when it comes to persuading people who already believe that vaccines are safe and effective. When it comes to parents who are worried about the safety of vaccines, the researchers found the messages were not only ineffective, but potentially counterproductive because worried parents became less likely to want to vaccinate their children after hearing these messages.
  • So vaccines and the concerns about vaccines are an example of this much larger phenomenon, which is once you believe in something, it's very hard to debunk that belief. And when someone comes along and tries to debunk that belief, they get seen as being part of the conspiracy theory.

  • A final and related factor may be anticipated regret. If some parents feel they would be more causally responsible for the negative consequences of a decision to vaccinate (as opposed to a decision to abstain), they may also anticipate that they would experience greater regret were the vaccine to lead to negative outcomes. And that, in turn, could make them hesitant to pursue a course with this risk: The fear of anticipated regret could push them away from vaccination.

  • At St. Hope’s Public School 7, the PBE rate for kindergartners is 6 percent, 13 percent at the California Montessori Project Capitol Campus. At the Alice Birney Waldorf-inspired elementary school, a public school mind you, the PBE rate is an alarming 32 percent.
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