One would assume that those who chose not to vaccinate their children are often parents who have very little resourceful information about the topic in order to make an educated decision. But that’s not always the case. New research suggests wealthy parents are more likely than parents from other socio-economic backgrounds to not vaccinate their children.
New research says that parents who tend not to vaccinate their kids tend to be better educated, white, and have higher income. They also have bigger families and more often than not use complementary or alternative medicine like chiropractors and naturopaths for their families.
Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine told ABC News that these parents tend to be in the upper middle class spectrum and have strong personal medical beliefs. Hoetz said, “Compounding this is the fact that there’s not been a commensurate pro-vaccine advocacy response. We’re not hearing from the federal agencies, we’re not hearing from all the usual pro-health advocates to counter the anti-vaccine lobby, so what’s happened is the defense of vaccines have fallen to a handful of academics, including myself.”
In California, the kindergarten students most likely to be exempt from mandatory vaccinations based on their parent's personal beliefs are white and wealthy, according to a recent study. The proportion of parents who choose not to vaccinate their children in California is higher in households that have "greater purchasing power" so to speak. Some critics point out the irony of areas like Los Angeles that tend to be obsessed with health and fitness, yet the majority of parents refuse to vaccinate their kids. Some schools in more affluent areas of southern California the number of unvaccinated students exceeds 50 percent. It’s been pointed out that the vaccination rate is just as low as in place like Chad or South Sudan. The only difference is that vaccinations are not always available in those countries.
Some observers are surprised that many of the parents who are deciding against vaccinating their children aren't from poor or marginalized communities, but rather in some of the wealthiest communities in America. Many critics blame the anti-vaccination movement that has had many parents simply say no thank you, mostly because of a “personal belief” exemption.
Keep in mind that vaccinations are mandatory, although all states provide exemptions for medical reasons, for children with a weakened immune system or are allergic to vaccine components.