Santa Cruz: Vaccinations Take off Under Threat of Measles Outbreak


Since the Disneyland measles outbreak began in December, public health officials have called upon parents to vaccinate to vaccinate their under-immunized children and for adults to obtain a booster shot to protect against the disease. Since then, the coastal, liberal enclave of Santa Cruz has seen a significant uptick in vaccination appointments, according to local news station KSBW and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.



In a January 28 letter to parents, Santa Cruz County Health Officer Lisa Hernandez implored all community members to review their health records and receive the measles vaccine if they had not done so already.

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation has reported seeing an uptick in immunizations since the measles outbreak began in December, KSBW reported. The local medical center reported that in 2014 they were immunizing approximately two children a week and now they are seeing more than two a day.

A recently released study of the electronic medical records for vaccinations in northern California children revealed low rates among graduate-level-educated communities and low-income populations.

113 countries tracked in World Health Organization data have 2013 measles immunization rates higher than those of the United States when one-year-old children are considered. In the United States, the rate ranged between 90 and 93% from 1996 through 2013, with a 91% rate in 2013. Much lower rates ranged from 83 to 88% from 1991 through 1995. China, Russia, Cuba, Iran and Libya are among those countries with vaccination rates exceeding those of the U.S., according to the WHO data.

One U.S. outbreak in 2013 originated from an American who had traveled to Indonesia, where he picked up the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). After his return the disease spread to at least 19 others, 17 of whom were known to be unvaccinated. In 2013, Indonesia had an 84% vaccination rate.

2014 saw an overwhelming number of measles cases in the U.S. Many of the cases were determined to have originated in the Philippines according to the CDC. In 2013, the Philippines had a 90% vaccination rate among one-year old children, WHO reported.

In 2000, public health officials had declared measles eliminated in the United States. Most recently released numbers put the number of cases in the U.S. ,and two in Mexico connected to the Disneyland outbreak, between 104 and 108. 92 of those are confirmed within California and 59 of those within California have been linked to the Disneyland outbreak.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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