The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has released a new report that includes results from a survey of parental knowledge and attitudes toward vaccinations, immunization facts and recommendations. Included in the report is information that vaccines are among the most effective of all preventive strategies that protect the health of residents.
In California, 90 percent of kindergartners were up-to-date with required immunizations in 2014, and Los Angeles County was slightly below the state average, with 86 percent of kindergartners up-to-date with vaccinations. Personal belief exemptions (PBEs) may be contributing to the declining vaccination rate for school-required immunizations that has been observed recently, according to DPH. The department supported SB277, which was signed into law on June 30, which will ensure that as many children as possible will be fully vaccinated at the time of school entry.
“The recent measles outbreak that resulted in more than 130 cases within the state of California highlights the importance of ensuring that as many persons as possible are vaccinated according to the schedule recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, interim health officer for Los Angeles County. “Attaining the highest vaccination rates possible will ensure that our children and all residents are safe in the event that additional cases of measles or other vaccine-preventable diseases are imported in the future. We urge all parents and guardians to do their part to help keep our communities safe by vaccinating your children.”
DPH’s report reflects that the percentages of PBEs vary geographically, which may negatively impact the prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases in local communities and put individuals who are not, and cannot be vaccinated, such as newborns and those with certain medical conditions. According to a 2014-2015 State School Assessment, the West Service Planning Area (including cities such as Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Culver City, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Playa del Rey, Santa Monica, and Venice) had the highest rate of PBEs, at 6.4 percent, and the South Service Planning Area (including cities such as Athens, Compton, Crenshaw, Florence, Hyde Park, Lynwood, Paramount, and Watts) had the lowest at 0.1 percent.
The report also presents results from the 2011 L.A. County Health Survey, which surveyed parents’ attitudes about immunizations For informaiton, visit www.public-health.lacounty.gov.
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