By MATT SANDERSON
SILVER LAKE — A cluster of private child care centers and preschools on the north end of Silver Lake are among the 1,500 statewide that were found to have measles vaccination rates deemed to be at the highest risk of outbreaks, according to an L.A. Times report.
The schools were among those that reported vaccination rates of 92% or less last October to the California Department of Health, which published the results on its website. Health officials told the Times that a vaccination rate of 92% “is a minimum to prevent an outbreak like measles from spreading rapidly.” The ideal rate is 95% or above.
The vaccination rates have received increased scrutiny in the wake of the measles outbreak at Disneyland that has spread to several states.
“I hear some parents talking,” said Jane Farrell, director and teacher at Silver Lake’s Neighborhood Nursery School, which recorded a measles immunization rate of 81% last fall. “Some parents are afraid but the parents who choose not to immunize are really standing their ground, abiding by their decision not to immunize their child.”
Farrell said the school follows the legal position of the state, and parents can use a personal belief exemption. “But we just ask them to file the form that proves they’ve spoken with their pediatrician about the risks and benefits of vaccination,” she said.
Some of the Silver Lake schools say their immunization rates have increased since the state figures were reported last fall. Arpi Idolor, director of the Los Angeles Family School, said the school’s immunization rate now stands at 99% compared to the 61% in the state report.
“Three years ago we changed our policy where children have to be immunized in order to enter,” she said of the Griffith Park Boulevard school. “One caveat is if there’s a medical condition or the child is born premature, has a serious medical reason or a delayed schedule because of a medical condition. Some kids are diabetics.”
“I respect a parent’s right to choose,” Idolor added. “No judgment on that, but I make sure my on grounds these kids are vaccinated. If they don’t want to be vaccinated, there are other schools.”
An employee at Camelot Kids Child Development Center on Rowena, which had an immunization rate of 90%, said staff was not at liberty to discuss its immunization policies.
No calls were returned from Rose Scharlin Cooperative Nursery School, with an immunization rate of 64%.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends all children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.
Matt Sanderson is a journalist, photographer and digital media producer. A native of Rhode Island, he received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of New Hampshire and moved to Los Angeles in 2012 with Patch.com/AOL