According to a definitive new study published June 3, Washington State ranks among the worst in the nation in meeting childhood vaccination targets. In the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) epidemiological newsletter, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, our state ranges between 88 and 93 percent compliance for "required" vaccinations like polio, whooping cough, measles, hepatitis B, and chicken pox. The CDC's target is 95 percent. But even more embarrassing, our state now leads the nation in parent-signed exemptions for kindergarten enrollees at 6.2 percent, a rate that has more than doubled over the past decade.

In other words, Washington is suffering an epidemic of stupid fucking Jenny McCarthy–worshiping anti-vaccine hippies. Only eight states report a lower compliance rate on the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine than Washington's 91.7 percent, while Mississippi leads the nation with 99.7 percent compliance.

And Seattle is only somewhat better than Washington as a whole.

At 5.3 percent, the rate of parent-signed exemptions for kindergarten enrollees at Seattle's public and private schools is still way too high, and the exemptions appear to be skewed toward a handful of private and alternative public schools. According to statistics obtained from the Washington State Department of Health, six Seattle schools have kindergarten exemption rates higher than 20 percent, almost all for "personal," rather than medical or religious, reasons: Seattle Hebrew Academy (43.5 percent), University Cooperative School (36.4 percent), the Community School of West Seattle (33.3 percent), Salmon Bay School (30 percent), Seattle Waldorf School (24.6 percent), and Pathfinder K-8 School (20.4 percent). Not one of these schools has a kindergarten vaccination completion rate better than 65 percent. That's an epidemic waiting to happen.

Skipping vaccinations exposes these kids to measles, mumps, whooping cough, and other diseases we typically vaccinate for, but it also endangers children who are too young or too immune-compromised to be vaccinated. These kids would normally be protected by herd immunity.

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According to the herd immunity theory, the larger the percentage of the population that is resistant to a contagious disease, the less likely any individual is to come into contact with the infecting agent in the first place. Once a certain immunization threshold is reached, the chain of infection is broken and the possibility of a sustained outbreak is all but eliminated. But at a vaccination rate of only 91.7 percent for MMR, for example, Washington is now dangerously close to falling below the herd immunity threshold for these sometimes deadly diseases, all thanks to stupid fucking hippies and their bullshit science.

Our current epidemic of anti-vaccine hysteria kicked off in 1998, when former physician and researcher Andrew Wakefield published a controversial study in British medical journal the Lancet linking the MMR vaccine to the development of autism. I emphasize "former physician and researcher" because Wakefield lost his license to practice medicine after he was found guilty of serious medical misconduct and unethical research practices, as the BBC reported in 2010. But that, and the fact that there is no credible scientific research supporting a causal link between vaccines and autism, hasn't stopped the anti-vaccine movement from growing. Led by celebrity advocates like "actress" Jenny McCarthy—who has made her own son the poster child for confusing correlation with causality by very publicly blaming his autism on vaccinations rather than on, say, chance, genetics, or a cruel and capricious God—the anti-vaccine movement continues to gain adherents, particularly among stupid fucking hippies. recommended