A growing number of parents are refusing to get their kids vaccinated, especially in wealthier and more highly educated pockets of the country, according to 2018 data from Blue Cross Blue Shield.
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The Long Island community of Nassau, New York — home to some of of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the state — has the highest percentage of parents refusing to have their children vaccinated in the country. In the metro area, 14.2 percent of parents refused to give their infants at least one vaccine, the data show. The national refusal rate is 3.3 percent.
Two other New York metropolitan areas, including New York City, round out the top three areas of the U.S. with the highest rates of refusal.
Doctors say vaccines are the best way to protect against dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases like measles and tetanus, yet some people refuse to get them.
Some parents cite religious reasons or inaccurate safety concerns that claim vaccines cause autism to refuse vaccinating their children. Public health officials are increasingly alarmed with the amount of so-called “anti-vaxxers,” especially amid what’s shaping up to be one of the worst measles outbreaks in years.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified six measles outbreaks in the country right now, with two in New York state. More than 310 cases have been reported in the U.S. so far this year, compared with 372 for all of 2018, the CDC said.
Here are the top 10 metro areas where parents refuse to vaccinate their children: