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Friday, September 19, 2014

School vaccination rates

When I was touring pre-schools, I was concerned about the levels of immunization in California. Every time I asked a school principal about it, however, I got the brush-off. What I didn't know until Arturo pointed it out was that I didn't have to ask the school, I could get the data directly from the California government web-site.

The data is extremely comprehensive, covering every licensed child-care facility in California as well as public and private schools K-12. Note that while it doesn't tell you what percentage of parents opt out of immunizing their kids, it lists what percentage of parents submit PBEs (Personal Belief Exemptions) in lieu of immunization records, which you can use as a proxy for people who don't vaccinate.

You need a vaccination of 95% to achieve herd immunity, so PBE levels above 5% should be considered dangerous. You might think that only poor schools with uneducated parents would get to that level, but several expensive and exclusive private schools including Waldorf in Los Altos have very high PBEs. (Waldorf is at 44%!)

This lets you screen schools easily and quickly, and eliminate schools without even a visit.

(And yes, Bowen attends Villa Montessori in Cupertino, which has 0% PBEs)

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