SPOKANE, Wash. -- The anti-vaccination movement continues to rise.
A new study from The Baylor College of Medicine in Texas shows that the number of non-medical exemption from vaccines are going up in 12 of the 18 states that allow them. Washington is one of those states that permits both religious and philosophical exemptions.
"Vaccines are one of the best and most effective ways we can prevent diseases in Washingtonians," said Danielle Koenig, Immunization Health Promotion Supervisor for the Washington State Department of Health.
According to the new national study, not all parents in the Pacific Northwest and Spokane are convinced and are choosing to not have their children vaccinated. Particularly the mumps, measles and rubella shot.
As a result, the study said hotspots have developed where the risk of kids catching these contagious diseases has jumped because of the growing number of non-medical exemptions.
“We kind of already known this information for a long time , this was not anything new. This was just looking at data that already existed and already public and just compiling it into one spot , so there wasn’t anything new or shocking in the study,” Koenig said.
Centers for Disease Control officials said at least 90-percent of each community needs to be covered by vaccinations to prevent an outbreak. Spokane is right on the edge.
The Washington State Department of Health reports that nearly 91 percent of Washington kindergartners have been vaccinated for the 2017-2018 school year. A spokeswoman said even though exemption rates have remained steady since 2011, they are working with the school districts to track children and make sure they have their shots.
"That number is a little bit lower than we would like to see it. Different diseases have different rates that the community is protected, and for measles we would really like to see that number at 95 percent or higher. While most kids are covered we would like to see it a little bit more, “ Koenig explained.
Health officials said vaccine benefits outweigh the side affects and most side affects are very mild and severed side affects are extremely rare. Despite this recent report, nationally most parents are still vaccinating their children.