Originally Posted by teacozy
A new study appears to show that the big 2010 California outbreak of pertussis was more heavily linked to vaccine exemptions than previously thought.
"The analysis identified 39 statistically significant geographical clusters with high rates of non-medical exemptions and two statistically significant clusters of pertussis cases. Census districts within an exemption cluster were 2.5 times more likely to also be in a pertussis cluster.
Both clusters were associated with "factors characteristic of high socioeconomic status," such as lower population density, lower average family size, lower percentage of racial or ethnic minorities and higher median household income. The study authors conclude that communities with large numbers of intentionally unvaccinated or undervaccinated persons can lead to pertussis outbreaks, putting vulnerable populations like young infants at increased risk."
I am not going to comment on the quality of the study, as I have not looked into it.
That being said, if it is correct….well, it is what it is.
In the unlikely incidence you live in an area with a high number of unvaxxed during a breakout, you may be more likely to get the disease. I will say 2.5 times more likely to live in a pertussis cluster if your area has a low vaccination rate does not seem overly high (and if anyone wants to look at the study and see how they define pertussis cluster, that may be helpful). Individual unvaxxed individuals have 7-10 times the rate of diagnosed pertussis as vaxxed individuals according to some studies.
Of course, there is also a lower rate of vaccine injuries and serious vaccine side effects in communities with lower vaccination uptakes. It is hard to quantify vaccine injuries due to rampant under-reporting. We cannot just compare rate during one time period either (such as an outbreak). We need to look at overall rates.
Vaccine rates are hardly the only factor in pertussis outbreaks. People who do not vaccinate due to religious, philosophical or medical reasons are not huge in number.
One solution maybe to develop programs to target the lapsed vaxxers - those who want to get a pertussis booster, but have not or cannot arrange it. Free clinics, work based clinics - that sort of thing. I don't know how well it will work, as vaccination rates are probably not driving the issue.
They could also try to build a better vaccine - more effective and longer lasting.