Tracking the anti-vaccine movement in the West

For the past few weeks I’ve been kind of obsessed with finding out how many school children in my area are un or undervaccinated. It’s hard to find out–Colorado doesn’t require districts to disclose this information, so I’ve been calling school nurses again and again. Finally, the data has come in, and the rates are pretty high. There are some districts in rural Western Colorado where 25-30% of kids don’t have all their required vaccines. Why? Well, partially it’s because opting out is easy: all a parent has to do is check a box saying vaccines violate their personal beliefs. Now, the state of Colorado is pushing back and trying to make it harder to opt-out. They’re following the lead of other Western states like Oregon, California and Washington.

I wrote two stories on this with different angles, one for The Daily Yonder and one for High Country News. Stay tuned for a radio documentary on my local findings, coming up in the next few weeks.

A woman gets a flu shot. Courtesy Flickr user WFIU Public Radio.

A woman gets a flu shot. Courtesy Flickr user WFIU Public Radio.

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