About 3% of kindergarten teachers have exceptions to "personal beliefs" in Grand Forks County. This is an increase of 1.35% in 2016. In Polk County there are about 2% of kindergarten teachers.
Again, these are not eye-catching numbers.
The problem is that they even exist. We believe that most exceptions are based on erroneous evidence and that unvaccinated children pose a potential threat to other children who have been vaccinated against infectious diseases.
According to a story in today's Herald, the numbers have increased in recent years, despite efforts by the medical community to reassure parents that vaccines against diseases ̵
Earlier this year, social media sites like Youtube and Facebook took steps to bury misinformation and conspiracy theories about vaccinations. This was in the middle of a nationwide increase in measles cases.
In March alone, there were 303 measles cases in the US, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This number rose to 341 in April. From January 1 to September 5, there were 1,241 confirmed cases in 31 states. The CDC notes that this is the largest number of measles cases in the United States since 1992.
According to the CDC, most measles cases this year are people who have not been vaccinated against the disease.
There were only 55 cases in 2012 in the US. Although the number rose to 667 in 2014, it fell to 86 in 2016.
Two decades ago, measles was a conquered enemy. However, there are already at least 1,241 confirmed cases this year.
It is good that Youtube and Facebook have been working to make the search for propaganda against vaccinations more difficult.
In the meantime, we repeat what we said in the past: We believe the experts and therefore believe that vaccination is important for a child and in the fight against revived infectious diseases.
One of the experts cited in today's Herald story is Dr. Paul Carson of the Department of Public Health of North Dakota State University. He said that only one or two out of a million people had severe reactions to vaccines; He also said that non-vaccination of children can have fatal consequences.
And without "herd immunity" – which means a vaccination rate of nearly 100% among the groups – other children, even those who have been vaccinated, are at higher risk if they are in the vicinity of unvaccinated peers.
In order to improve the vaccination rates, the state should tighten the exemption procedure. For example, in California, state legislators this year worked to impose new restrictions on certain exceptions.
If that's what's needed to eradicate the next measles or tuberculosis outbreak, that's it. The legislature of North Dakota should also consider their options in future sessions.