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More Arizona Parents Opting Out Of Vaccinations For Their Kids
The Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) has released the latest immunization rates for kids in child care, kindergarten and sixth grade. The data allows DHS to assess its coverage rates statewide.
Dr. Cara Christ heads the agency. She said this year, there has been an increase in the number of personal exemptions.
"We are seeing it in our diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, and that could be because a series of shots that’s required to be fully immunized against that," Christ said. "We do tend to see people opting out of measles, mumps, rubella.
Christ said fear based on inaccurate science could contribute to the increase. That, and she said, some parents use the exemption form out of convenience because they either forgot or didn’t have time to bring their child’s immunization record to school.
Christ said changing people’s minds isn’t easy, though Christ and her agency are trying.
"One of the things I look at for my staff is modeling that behavior. Not only am I tell you it’s important but I’m vaccinating my own children because I think it’s so important," she said. "And then just making sure we’re as honest and transparent as we can be with the information we’re giving out to parents."