While Colorado consistently appears in national news as one of the nation’s top health performers in a variety of measures, childhood immunization rates across the state tell a different story.
By Aimee Pugh-Bernard, PhD
In the eleventh installment of the Immunology 101 Series, Aimee will explain the basics of the infectious disease mumps and the science behind the vaccines available for mumps.
By Karli Carston
As a kid, I took vaccines for granted. Shots were something that was mildly unpleasant but necessary.
Then I grew up and became a mom.
I followed the car seat recommendations. I followed recommendations for breastfeeding and starting solid foods. I understood the relative risks and benefits of vaccines and followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) schedule for both my kids. I assumed pretty much everyone else did the same.
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I moved to Boulder, Colo. to start a new job when my bubble burst. A local education news outlet, Chalkbeat Colorado, had calculated the proportion of students in each public school who were fully vaccinated and published the rates for parents like myself to see, and the information was both surprising and disheartening. A well-regarded charter school recommended to us by friends and neighbors had a 50 percent vaccination rate. Our local elementary school was much better at 85 percent but still fell far short of what is necessary for herd immunity. Not everyone accepts that the health benefits of vaccines outweigh the minuscule risks?!, I thought. How could this be? But the data were there in black and white.