Measles and COVID in Arizona
Will Humble/Exec. Director, Arizona Public Health Assoc.: Will talks about three cases of measles and that one of the reasons we even see measles in AZ is that this state is one of the top states when it comes to parents seeking exemptions for their kids to be vaccinated. In addition he talks about getting your COVID booster– when should you and also can you get it when you get your flu shot?
Should the public be worried?
“We had some initial cases a few weeks ago; the case came from what we call travel case, which means someone was out of the country, they were unvaccinated, came back and was diagnosed in Arizona. We were concerned that they’re could’ve been exposures that happen either in the community, at birthday parties, at school that would create secondary or on-stream cases,” said Humble.
He reassures that this has not happened yet, and that the community should be fine due to the fact there have not been any secondary cases as a result of long incubation periods. Humble credits this prevention to good case investigation from the Maricopa County Department of Health and a clinician that was able to detect the infection right away.
“Childhood vaccination rates have been going down for the last 12 years,” said Humble. However, attempts were made to help stabilize the decline, but it continues to decline and is not uniform across the state.
“What we are seeing and continue to see, are especially higher income parents that are choosing not to vaccinate their kids,” said Humble. He further explained that different schools have different data on vaccination rates, such as charter schools that are showing low rates.
Why are parents avoiding vaccinations?
“We did focus groups on it and a lot of it is misinformation from places like Facebook or things that they hear in their friend groups,” explained Humble. He also mentioned that geography plays a role, where places like Yavapi County have low rates but Tucson and Yuma have great vaccination rates.