The Sacramento Bee reports the decline corresponds to the introduction of a new form that requires parents to get a doctor’s signature that acknowledges they’ve been told about the risks of letting their children go unvaccinated. It also comes as California deals with one of its worst whooping cough outbreaks in generations. Health experts are blaming it, at least in part, on lax immunization in previous years.
State law says parents must vaccinate their children against measles, whooping cough, polio, chicken pox and a host of other diseases. But parents who object can get exemptions. In recent years, a growing number of parents have questioned whether vaccinations are safe, despite virtual consensus in the medical community in favor of immunization.
A recent L.A, Times analysis found that California parents were opting out of vaccinations for their kindergarten-age children at twice the rate they did seven years ago. The trend toward non-immunization has been especially prevalent in affluent areas, including the Westside and Hollywood.