Vaccination rates in Hollywood s elite schools have dropped drastically low, according to an investigation by The Hollywood Reporter that looked into vaccination rates in Los Angeles County schools. The schools with the lowest rates are clustered in the affluent Westside, where some schools have vaccination rates as low as South Sudan, where only 65 percent of children are vaccinated.
The same LA neighborhoods are being plagued by pertussis, or whooping cough. Thousands of children and babies in California have been infected with this respiratory disease, causing them to fight to breathe and cough violently, sometimes resulting in cracked ribs. Not only is this disease painful and even deadly in infants, it is also completely preventable by a vaccination.
So why would these upper-socioeconomic class and (we assume) highly-educated parents choose to NOT vaccinate their children, thus putting them at risk of horrible diseases, when the medical world widely agrees that vaccines are nearly 100 percent safe? One reason educated, high-income people are more likely to not vaccinate is because they are more confident standing up to doctors, and they have the money and resources to seek out pediatricians who will agree with their irrational beliefs. Many pediatricians describe this confidence as really being entitlement and arrogance. Anti-vaccine parents believe that Internet research and brunch conversations about the topic make them more qualified than MDs who are experts in vaccines and immunology to make the call on the safety and necessity of vaccines.
Dr. Jay Gordon, among the most popular pediatricians of LA s wealthy anti-vaxxers, states, [These parents] just want to have a real discussion about vaccines and [other doctors] just won t have it. That s probably because there is no discussion to be had vaccines are completely accepted among the medical world to be safe and vital. Instead of a discussion, what these parents are really looking for is a pediatrician who will cater to their harmful notions.
As a result of this mindset, the vaccination rates in many of Hollywood s schools have fallen dangerously below the 90% required vaccination rate needed for herd immunity. With herd immunity, those who are unable to be vaccinated including children with compromised immune systems are still protected, because any spread of disease is contained. So not only are anti-vaccine parents putting their own children at risk, they are putting other children in the community at risk.
The bottom line, says Olga Khaza, a staff writer at the Atlantic, is this: Wealth enables these people to hire fringe pediatricians who will coddle their irrational beliefs. But it doesn't entitle them to threaten an entire city's children with terrifying, 19th-century diseases for no reason.