Sunday, February 03, 2019

Your semi-regular update on what schools have low vaccination rates around Olympia

Usually, about when there is something in the news about an outbreak around here, I'll go to the state Department of Health and find out what the vaccination rates are at our local schools (and here). This time around, there is a measles outbreak just about an hour south of us, so I thought it would be nice to narrow in specifically on exemptions (personal, religious or health) for the measles, mumps, rubella vaccination.

According to the most recent data, there are a handful of schools in the Olympia area with fairly high exemption rates for the MMR vaccine.

SchoolPercent exempt for measles, mumps, rubellaPercent with any personal and religious exemptions (not just MMR)Percent with medical exemption (not just MMR)
OLY REGIONAL LEARNING ACADEMY16.2%22.1%6.3%
ORLA MONTESSORI15.5%23.5%8.5%
OLYMPIA COMMUNITY SCHOOL12.9%29.0%12.9%
LINCOLN ELEMENTARY12.7%24.0%4.6%
GRAVITY12.5%12.5%0.0%
AVANTI HIGH SCHOOL12.0%19.0%1.4%
Paramount Christian Academy9.1%9.1%0.0%
TUMWATER WEST9.1%9.1%0.0%
NOVA SCHOOL8.6%10.5%1.0%
PIONEER ELEMENTARY5.9%10.6%2.7%
BLACK LAKE ELEMENTARY5.7%7.7%1.7%
REEVES MIDDLE SCHOOL5.1%13.6%2.0%
MICHAEL T SIMMONS ELEMENTARY5.0%6.7%1.4%
THURGOOD MARSHALL MIDDLE SCHOO4.9%8.2%1.8%
BOSTON HARBOR ELEMENTARY4.7%8.3%2.4%
ROOSEVELT ELEMENTARY4.6%7.2%1.7%
GARFIELD ELEMENTARY4.6%9.9%2.2%
EVERGREEN CHRISTIAN SCHOOL4.4%7.8%0.0%
TUMWATER HIGH SCHOOL4.1%6.5%0.8%
NEW MARKET HIGH SCHOOL4.0%4.0%0.0%
EAST OLYMPIA ELEMENTARY3.9%5.5%0.4%
MARGARET MCKENNY ELEMENTARY3.9%4.2%0.0%
OLYMPIA HIGH SCHOOL3.9%9.6%0.3%
JEFFERSON MIDDLE SCHOOL3.9%6.6%0.9%
CENTENNIAL ELEMENTARY3.7%5.4%1.1%
BLACK HILLS HIGH SCHOOL3.7%6.4%1.5%
CAPITAL HIGH SCHOOL3.7%7.0%0.6%
PETER G SCHMIDT ELEM3.7%4.5%1.0%
GEORGE WASHINGTON BUSH MS3.5%6.7%0.6%
LITTLEROCK ELEMENTARY3.1%4.5%1.4%
SOUTH BAY ELEMENTARY3.1%4.1%1.0%
TUMWATER MIDDLE SCHOOL3.1%5.0%1.0%
TUMWATER HILL ELEMENTARY3.1%4.2%0.5%
WASHINGTON MIDDLE SCHOOL2.8%6.3%1.0%
LACEY ELEMENTARY2.8%3.6%0.8%
OLYMPIA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL2.6%10.5%0.0%
LYDIA HAWK ELEMENTARY2.5%3.1%0.2%
MEADOWS ELEMENTARY2.4%2.8%1.0%
SOUTH SOUND HIGH SCHOOL2.4%3.0%0.0%
SECONDARY OPTIONS2.4%3.9%0.8%
OLYMPIC VIEW ELEMENTARY2.3%2.5%0.9%
NORTH THURSTON HS2.3%5.8%1.4%
NORTHWEST CHRISTIAN HIGH SCHOOL2.3%2.3%0.8%
CORNERSTONE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL2.2%2.2%0.0%
JULIA BUTLER HANSEN ELEMENTARY2.2%2.2%1.1%
MADISON ELEMENTARY2.1%5.4%0.0%
GOSPEL OUTREACH2.0%2.0%0.0%
HORIZONS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL1.9%2.6%0.9%
L P BROWN ELEMENTARY1.8%2.4%0.3%
COMMUNITY CHRISTIAN ACADEMY1.8%3.0%0.0%
ST. MICHAEL SCHOOL1.7%3.5%0.9%
KOMACHIN MIDDLE SCHOOL1.7%3.5%0.9%
TIMBERLINE HIGH SCHOOL1.7%3.4%0.4%
CHAMBERS PRAIRIE ELEMENTARY1.7%3.3%0.7%
NISQUALLY MIDDLE SCHOOL1.5%2.7%0.7%
WOODLAND ELEMENTARY1.4%2.2%0.3%
RIVER RIDGE HIGH SCHOOL1.4%3.2%0.5%
SALISH MIDDLE SCHOOL1.3%2.3%0.7%
ASPIRE MIDDLE SCHOOL1.2%4.9%0.0%
EVERGREEN FOREST ELEMENTARY1.2%2.8%1.2%
HOLY FAMILY SCHOOL1.2%1.2%1.2%
POPE JOHN PAUL II HIGH SCHOOL1.1%1.1%0.0%
MCLANE ELEMENTARY1.0%2.3%1.3%
CHINOOK MIDDLE SCHOOL0.9%4.0%0.9%
MOUNTAIN VIEW ELEMENTARY0.8%2.0%0.5%
PLEASANT GLADE ELEMENTARY0.7%1.7%0.7%
SEVEN OAKS ELEMENTARY0.7%2.0%0.2%
NEW MARKET SKILLS CENTER0.3%0.3%0.0%
TOUCHSTONE SCHOOL0.0%0.0%0.0%
CAPITAL MONTESSORI SCHOOL0.0%0.0%0.0%


Here is the most recent data from the state and the spreadsheet I used.

What leaves me scratching my head about this data is that when you parse out the medical and personal exemptions, they seem to follow the same general pattern. Schools with high personal/religious exemptions also have high medical exemption rates. 

When I first started looking at this stuff, I assumed medical exemptions would be evenly dispersed across the area. It follows that since all of the schools that have high exemption rates are schools you either generally lottery into or opt into, that the personal/religious exemptions would gather there.  In the same way that opting into certain schools is an expression of a family's choice, so is opting out of vaccination. But the medical reasons for not being vaccinated, I don't think, would be more general and would not necessarily be tied to a family's school choices.

If you're new to this issue or just need some background, here is some information you might find useful:

Here is an explanation on how those exemptions work.

You've heard about herd immunity, or how the vaccination rate in a group of people that protects people who can't receive a vaccine. This is why a 16 percent exemption rate at ORLA or a 12 percent exemption rate at Lincoln are sort of scary.

According to the CDC, an immunization rate of 94 percent is necessary to prevent pertussis from persisting in a community. That is above the 88 percent that the exemption rate at Lincoln would indicate is that school's immunization rate.

 

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