Experts: Slipping Arizona Vaccination Rates Put Everyone At Risk

Published: Monday, March 18, 2019 - 12:34pm
Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 8:38am

Arizona's vaccination rates are slipping half a percent each year — and health experts have warned it is placing everyone at risk.

Currently, vaccination rates in pockets of metro Phoenix fall below 85 percent, including in the Anthem and Fountain Hills communities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Speaking on PBS's "Arizona Horizon" over the weekend, Will Humble with the Arizona Public Health Association said that figure falls far below the level needed to protect the state's most vulnerable populations.

"If you take a ten year block you've lost 5 percent," he said. At the very least, he continued, "We need to be at 95 percent or above for measles. We're already below that."

Humble cited a recent case with a family from Tucson returning from Asia with a child who contracted the disease.

Fortunately, he said, Pima County has better immunity with higher vaccination rates than rural areas like Sedona, Prescott and Yavapai County where the rates are lower.

He warned that vaccination rates under 95 percent place all Arizonans at risk, especially infants who are vulnerable to exposure, since they cannot be fully vaccinated until their first birthday.

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