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With less vaccinated children, more schools in Minn



The number of schools in Minnesota with low levels of vaccination for kindergarten for measles and chicken pox has risen sharply over the past five years, causing concern among state health officials that they are vulnerable to outbreaks of highly contagious diseases.

Third part of the schools in Minnesota had levels of vaccination in the kindergarten below the level required for "herd immunity," according to Star Tribune's analysis at 1110 primary schools.

Some of these schools have had chickenpox outbreaks since 2017, including those with two separate outbreaks. According to the Minnesota Health Ministry

Unvaccinated children also helped eradicate measles in 201

7, which aggravated 75 and sent 21 patients to the hospital. Around the country there is a rebirth of measles in pockets with low vaccination across the country, nearly 400 cases last year, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We are concerned about these children," said Dr. Sheldon Berkowitz, the newly elected president of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Minnesota. "It is important to vaccinate not only for their own child but also for other children in the community who are not able to vaccinate." reminding the public that vaccines pose a low risk and favor the health of the population. They cited extensive medical research, including a recent study that found there was no link between the auto-vaccine and autism, one of the myths that lowered vaccination levels and created fertile ground for the recent outbreak of measles in Minnesota. what it moves is the fear and the Internet and the notion that there is no science behind the recommendations we make, "Berkovic said. "They are, in fact, based on very solid scientific information."

"When you vaccinate your children, you are a norm," says Chris Ereshman, director of infectious diseases in the health department. "People who are not vaccinated … are a small deviation, but there is a variation that has increased, so we are concerned about it."

A total of 787 of the kindergarten schools had a vaccination rate against measles at or above 90 % of the 2017-2018 academic year, the latest available data.

But these numbers mask pockets at lower rates where diseases can easily spread in the near future.

The trend is partly driven by the growing number of parents who do not choose to vaccinate their children as permitted by state law, but may also include children with incomplete doses or whose parents have not provided the necessary documentation with schools. measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR). Last year it was 30% of all kindergartens, an increase of 22% five years earlier. During this period, in 150 schools the vacci- nation rate has fallen by more than 5 percentage points, and they are lower than the 90% level. is the lower limit required to prevent outbreaks.

Schools report vaccination rates only for kindergartens and seventh graders. Vaccination rates are improving at a higher rate, where only half of schools fall below the 90% threshold for MMR and chickenpox.

Many of the pockets are in small charter and private schools where few unvaccinated children in a small class The kindergarten population can manage the vaccination rate below the recommended threshold

However, one fifth of the country's kindergartens are included in these "pocket" schools, and although most of these children have the recommended two doses of MMR vaccine, they are also at risk because the vaccine does not provide complete protection.

"Takes Care of Us"

In addition to the risk of an outbreak, pupils without photos may endanger other children who can not be vaccinated for medical reasons. Many of these children have a weakened immune system caused by chronic illness or medical treatment. Taking a shot like a MMR that contains a live but weakened form of the virus can actually make them sick. And if they catch the disease from someone else, they will most likely develop severe symptoms. "This is something we think about all the time," said Linsey Ripie, who has two daughters who have had heart transplants. They are taking medication that does not allow their bodies to reject their hearts, but these drugs also dig up their ability to fight the disease. At the beginning of each school year, Ripi wrote a letter to his children's teachers and asked them to pass it on to all parents about the importance of vaccinations. "It's not for me to know if their children are vaccinated," she said. "But I hope at least understand a little more than what we have experienced and why we feel as we do."

With recent reports of national measles outbreaks showing growing vaccine reluctance among parents, Ripi worries that schools will lose the immunity of the herd that helps protect her children. "

" This puts us under high voltage, "she said.

Minnesota is one of the 17 countries that allow parents to give up immunization for personal reasons. All countries grant exceptions for medical reasons, while others state that exceptions must be based on religious beliefs.

Kelly Johnson, whose 12-year-old daughter attends state school and has never been vaccinated, is one of the skeptics of the vaccine.

"I just fill out the conscientious withdrawal form," Johnson said. "This is the right of Minnesota's parents."

Johnson started questioning vaccines after her older daughter started having seizures at an early age. She believes the MMR vaccine is responsible, but it also monitors other medical problems, including chronic ear infections, back to the vaccines her daughter received when she was 2 months old. the daughter is in a wheelchair.

Johnson also has a 21-year-old son who has been vaccinated and has had health problems, including asthma and severe allergies. it's charming how healthy my unvaccinated child is, "she said. "I feel it is our right as parents to do what we think we should do for the health of our own children." The growing number of schools with non-standard varicella [196590013] The Maranata Christian Academy in Brooklyn Park is one of the four schools that have had chickenpox outbreaks in 2017. By 84 % of its kindergartens and seventh graders are immunized, including those who have acquired immunity. Through sickness the school has seen seven cases of the disease.

By 2019, immunity in Maranatha has risen to 92% for kindergartens and 90% for seventh grade students, but the school has seen a new outbreak, this time nine cases. [19659008] "I do not want to see these diseases in schools," school head teacher Brian Sullivan said in an interview

More and more, Saliwan says, vaccinations have become a polarizing problem among parents. "This is a challenging situation. The law allows parents to give up, he said. "We can not usurp their authority."

Sullivan said he had heard concerns from some parents about others who did not want to vaccinate.

The role of the school is above all to collect documentation for photos or releases from parents and to inform

"We are limited by the parameters of the law," he said.

Last year, the Academy of Eagle Ridge, a charter school in Minenca, had MMR immunization documentation for only 66% of the 136 kindergartens included in the program

. "We have a high Somali population and have a belief in this community that it has bad consequences, especially MMR, "said CEO Jason Ulbrich. "It's just untrue."

In order to improve the level of reporting, the school holds parent meetings before the current school year to explain the importance of vaccines. Since then, the percentage has improved by 10 to 15%, he said.

"We are trying to educate them and get the information in their hands," Ulbrich said.

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