These vaccination rate maps tell a troubling story as measles outbreaks spread
We’re only two months into 2019, but the United States is already facing six measles outbreaks. According to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 159 cases of the measles have been reported as of February 21, with outbreaks–defined as three or more cases–concentrated in Texas, Illinois, New York, and Washington State.
One of the reasons these outbreaks are so troubling is because measles is a vaccine-preventable disease. Two decades ago, measles was declared eradicated in the United States, thanks to robust and successful vaccination efforts. But those efforts are a constant battle against poor access within some communities and misinformation from anti-vaxx groups.
That’s a recipe for trouble: A 2017 study from Stanford showed that just a 5% drop in child vaccination levels would cause measles rates to triple, and the CDC says one of the reasons current measles outbreaks are happening is because the disease spreads in U.S. populations containing large pockets of unvaccinated people.
Somewhat frustratingly, it’s actually not that easy to find granular community-level data regarding immunization rates. Many states seem to rely on the CDC’s statewide data and don’t publish anything deeper, or if they do, it’s not updated. At any rate, I’ve rounded up a few telling maps below, which underscore areas where populations are especially vulnerable:
It should go without saying after reading this post, but the CDC is urging people to get their children vaccinated. You can find more specific information here.