Once again, the state has released vaccination statistics for Oregon schools, and once again, some Ashland schools are at the bottom of the list for the percentage of students immunized against dangerous childhood diseases.
State law requires public school students to be vaccinated against a number of preventable diseases.
Overall, Jackson and Josephine counties tied for the second-lowest immunization rate in the state at 89 percent. But that’s an average. While most Medford schools were rated “safest” by the Oregon Health Authority, meaning 95 percent to 100 percent of students are fully vaccinated, every Ashland school was rated “most vulnerable” — less than 80 percent fully vaccinated — except Bellview Elementary, where 80 percent to 89.9 percent are fully vaccinated.
Most alarming are the results for Siskiyou School, where just 29 percent of 189 students have all the required vaccinations, and Willow Wind Community Learning Center, where 41 percent of 211 students have all required vaccinations.
This is not an academic exercise. Leaving children unvaccinated not only exposes them to potentially serious infections, it puts at risk those who cannot be vaccinated: infants, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
Last fall, six cases of whooping cough (pertussis) were reported in Ashland, and 15 under-vaccinated students had to stay home from school for 21 days. That was an inconvenience, but if an infant had contracted the disease it could have been fatal.
Pertussis is just one potentially fatal disease preventable with vaccinations. Adverse reactions are rare. To protect the community, please vaccinate your children.