Public Health New Mexico
3:00 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Vaccinations Survey Reveals Personal Reasons For Exemptions

Credit Univ. of Melbourne - public domain

Most parents asking for an exemption to mandatory vaccinations in New Mexico schools were anglo, according to a survey done by the state Department of Health. 

The survey reveals details behind the exemptions. 

Most New Mexico parents cited religious beliefs in order to get an exemption for a child, believing it’s better to develop immunity to diseases naturally by contracting the illness. 

But the survey found parents believe it’s a personal choice not to get their kids immunized.   Even though respondents understood vaccine-preventable diseases can be severe,  state epidemiologist Michael Landen said those parents aren’t seeing the bigger picture. 

“These diseases can be very severe, they can have very serious complications,” Landon noted. 

Landon says a decrease in vaccinations in France several years ago led to a significant outbreak of measles.

Moreover, Landon added, in those US states where fewer vaccinations have been given because of exemptions like in Oregon and Washington, officials have seen more communicable diseases like measles and pertussis.

More than one-half of vaccination exemptions for school-aged children in New Mexico were in the larger population areas of Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties.  Most schools with the largest Hispanic populations also have the highest percentage of students who are fully vaccinated.