by David Safier
From the Republic:
Arizona kindergartners who attend charter schools are more than twice as likely as their public-school counterparts to skip vaccines because their parents choose to opt out, a new study says.
The study found that 2,050 Arizona kindergartners did not receive recommended vaccines during the 2010-11 school year under a "personal beliefs" exemption allowed by the state law.
The analysis of more than 1,000 public and charter schools also found that the typical school with a higher exemption rate is "a charter school attended by predominantly White, higher-income students," according to the University of Arizona study scheduled to be published online today in the journal Vaccine.
In Arizona, the number of personal-beliefs exemptions have more than doubled over the past decade.
At the same time, outbreaks for measles, whooping cough and the mumps have been on the upswing nationwide. Thousands of cases of whooping cough have been reported this year in the United States, claiming the lives of nine children, including one infant in Maricopa County.
Federal health officials say vaccination is the most effective way to prevent whooping cough.
The highest exemption rates were at schools in northern Arizona, followed by central Arizona. Tucson-area schools had lower exemption rates.