On Vaccines: Marin County, or Moron County?

Is Marin County, California, with one of the highest median household incomes in the nation at $90,535, out to show the world that income has no bearing on intelligence?

Where vaccinating children against childhood diseases is concerned, that seems to be the case.  Affluent Marin County, with many of the most expensive and exclusive schools in the country, has the highest rate of clustered, non-vaccinated school age children in all of California.   Not proudly, California leads the nation in unvaccinated kids, with eight percent of all Kindergartners, or some 41,000 children not being vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella last year.  Compare that to the leading state in the nation for vaccination, Mississippi, with a 99.7% compliance rate—where personal and religious belief exemptions are NOT permitted– and only 140 children in the entire state entered school last year without their required shots.

Think about that, the next time you dump on “dumb”, poor  Southerners.  Mississippi’s median income, the lowest in the nation, is $35,693, or a bit more than one-third that of chic Marin’s.  Mississippi requires immunization against all childhood diseases for entering all schools, Head Start or Day Care.  No vaccine; no school.  Simple. 

California’s Department of Health, on the other hand, appears to be smoking too much weed.   In its latest report (January 30, 2015) on “Vaccine Opt-Out Rates” it hails the fact that “Opt-Out Rates Drops, First Time Since 1998”.  Yet the decline is less than one-half of one percent and over 500 schools across the State—many in the Bay Area—have “Opt-Out” rates of over 10%, despite DOH’s admission that:

“Vaccine rates need to be 90 percent — or higher — depending on the disease to create what’s known as herd immunity. That means that enough people are vaccinated to protect those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or whose immune system is compromised. This includes people being treated for cancer or HIV patients and more. When vaccine rates are high, a disease introduced into a community cannot take hold.”

So what’s to brag about here, DOH?  California is leading the nation in reported cases of Measles right now with 91, and the U.S. is far out-pacing the rest of the world in 2015, reporting 490 Measles cases to 32 in Asia and 2, (yes, only 2) in Africa.  The rest of the world would be wise to keep Americans out of their countries, unless we can show proof of vaccination, especially since Measles is more contagious than Ebola. No immigration without vaccination goes for us, too.  In 1989-91, when 17,000 cases of Measles were reported during the last Measles Epidemic, 70 people died in California. This is not a parlor game of libertarian rights. Humans are dying.

The California Department of Health statistics for the past 7 years reveal that a number of Marin County schools (Greenwood School, Mill Valley; San Geronimo Valley Elementary School, and the New Village School, in Sausalito ), and several in San Francisco, and Sonoma County,  allow from 50 to 75 percent of their students to attend school unvaccinated, putting all their classmates—and everyone in the region– at risk of contracting Measles, Whooping Cough, or whatever disease is the latest rage.  The worst offender on California’s DOH list of over 7,000 public and private elementary schools is the Grace Christian School in Carmichael, CA (Sacramento County), where 93% of the students’ parents have invoked a specious, and dangerous, “personal belief exemption (PBE),” to prevent their child from being vaccinated.

Before you get too cocky about Carmichael being a “religious school” in “rural” Sacramento County, not the sophisticated urban/suburban Bay Area, Public Enemy # 2 on the DOH’s Dumbest list is the Berkeley Rose School, in sophisticated, smart, agnostic Berkeley, where 87% of its students are unvaccinated.  Other eye-openers on the DOH’s Dumbest list were many Waldorf Schools stretching from San Diego all the way up to the Santa Rosa, to the Waldorf’s flagship Summerfield School and Farm, where 42% of the students are unvaccinated. Astounding.  So smart; so stupid.

Under California State law, children entering kindergarten are required to be vaccinated against: Polio; Diptheria, Tetanus & Pertussis (DTaP); Measle, Mumps, Rubella (MMR), Hepatitis B, and Chickenpox (Varicella)—UNLESS their brilliant parents “opt-out” of the vaccines, under the State’s “Personal or Religious Belief Exemption (PBE).”   Marin County has headed the pack of anti-vaxxers for years, asserting their stupidity with the State’s highest PBE rates, in the face of overwhelming medical evidence that vaccines prevent disease.

Marin County as Moron County when it comes to vaccines? It sure looks like while Marin residents may have left their hearts in San Francisco, their brains are buried somewhere deep under the Bay.

4 thoughts on “On Vaccines: Marin County, or Moron County?

  1. Hi Mr. Villano. I read your blog and it seems that this topic is long an emotion and short on data for many people discussing the topic of vaccines. Full disclosure, I have a natural distrust for big Pharma, big agribusiness, the military industrial complex and their incestuous relationship with the Government. That said, I’m vaccinated and all my children are/were vaccinated at the appropriate times.

    Nevertheless, there seems to be a lot of data not reported or under-reported that I’m shocked is not part of this debate. Specifically, while big pharma claims vaccines are safe, there is an entire program (run by Health and Human Services) to compensate those injured by vaccines – the price of wish is silence.

    That’s just one piece of data… perhaps more interesting is this idea of herd immunity, that you mentioned. If I understand this rationale correctly, herd immunity (or even a single person being immunized for that matter) has a real value in protecting those who CANNOT be immunized for other medical reasons. So for clarity, the position is that we should expose the entire population to the real documented risk of side effects, death and paralysis from vaccines for the potential benefit of protecting those with suppressed immune systems? Clearly there are no winners here and I neither should be shamed because of their extremely unfortunate conditions.

    Thoughts sir?
    Peace and Best to you!

    • Thanks for your response, Mark. I too have a distrust of big Pharma and many of the other institutions you mention. I’d prefer that that all vaccine research, production and distribution be nationalized, stripped of profit and that all life-saving and life-enhancing drugs be made available free of charge to all who need them. Herd immunity is well established in medical, non-pharmaceutical research, as is the overwhelming effectiveness of vaccines. My bias is a bit different from yours. My mother was infected with the Polio virus as infant, and partially paralyzed during the Polio Epidemic of 1915-16, 50 years before any polio vaccine existed. She spent time as a young child in a “Crippled Children’s Home” and witnessed other children her age living their lives in an Iron Lung. She became a passionate advocate for the Polio Vaccine, seeing and experiencing first hand what lack of vaccine and public hysteria about a disease could do. Of course their are medical exceptions to every vaccination program. But you ignore the preponderance of the independent, scientific research about the life-saving job vaccines have done for decades, starting with Polio. And, you ignore the facts of Mississippi’s remarkable success with vaccinations and Marin County’s abysmal failure. The facts I’ve cited in my blog are directly from the California State Department of Health. They are real. No one, not you, nor I has the right to ignore them.

      Don’t let your distrust of Big Pharma blind you to the unpaid-for research that is overwhelmingly in favor of mass vaccinations as a means of saving entire populations from disease.

      Steve Villano

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