It can’t affect me if I don’t believe in it

This is worrisome:

California parents are deciding against vaccinating their kindergarten-age children at twice the rate they did seven years ago, a fact public health experts said is contributing to the reemergence of measles across the state and may lead to outbreaks of other serious diseases.

The percentage of kindergartens in which at least 8% of students are not fully vaccinated because of personal beliefs has more than doubled as well, according to data on file with the state. That threshold is significant because communities must be immunized at a high rate to avoid widespread disease outbreaks. It is a concept known as herd immunity, and for measles and whooping cough at least 92% of kids need to be immune, experts say.

Here’s one parent:

Holly Blumhardt, a mother of three unvaccinated children (two of them attend Orange County public school), said her family believes in staying healthy “from the inside out.” In her view, that means taking vitamin and mineral supplements, steering clear of genetically modified foods, getting regular chiropractic care and maintaining an “active lifestyle.”

“Most parents want to do the … healthiest thing for their child,” Blumhardt said. “It should be their choice.”

This is the type of magical thinking that should have been wiped out with the scientific revolution–the flu of 1918 was more likely to kill the healthy, so keeping a healthy lifestyle does not keep you from getting diseases. I think this shows something similar:

In Los Angeles County, the rise in personal belief exemptions is most prominent in wealthy coastal and mountain communities, The Times analysis shows. The more than 150 schools with exemption rates of 8% or higher for at least one vaccine were located in census tracts where the incomes averaged $94,500 — nearly 60% higher than the county median.

There’s this belief that tragedy strikes other people, people who have done something wrong. It makes sense that the rich are more likely to believe this. The problem is that this doesn’t just affect the people who don’t get vaccinated–vaccinations are never 100% effective and some people have real reasons not to be vaccinated.

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