parents who decline to immunize their children should be sued or charged with a crime when their decision leads to an outbreak of illness.An article in Slate this week asked whether
The piece pointed to a 2008 San Diego incident where an unvaccinated 7-year-old boy caught measles in Switzerland and then passed the virus on to 11 other unvaccinated kids.
The Slate article comes as public health departments across the country are reminding parents to bring proof of vaccinations when enrolling their children in school.
In California, kindergartners need five DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), four polio, three hepatitis B, two MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and one varicella (chickenpox) shot.
However, California is one of 18 states where parents may still enroll students who have not been immunized if they claim an exemption due to personal beliefs.
Out of the nearly 700 children who enrolled as kindergarteners in Walnut Creek last year, 3 percent started school without having received the battery of vaccinations required by the state because of the personal beliefs of their parents or guardians. That figure roughly matches the statewide average of 2.7 percent and is higher than the Contra Costa County average of 2.1 percent.
A study by the California Department of Public Health in 2010 found that 80 percent of parents who don't immunize their kids do so because they believe the vaccines pose a health risk.