How high is West Hollywood’s childhood immunization rate?
We wondered about the immunization rate in West Hollywood. A high rate of immunization against a particular disease doesn’t just protect those who are immunized. If the rate is high enough — between 96% and 99% — it inhibits the disease’s spread. This “herd immunity” helps protect everyone, including those who can’t be immunized for medical reasons.
Lower immunization rates make disease outbreaks more likely. For example, an outbreak of measles at Disneyland in 2014 was enabled by lower immunization rates, according to a study summarized in the Los Angeles Times.
California requires children to provide proof of immunization when they start child care, kindergarten, and seventh grade. Each school and licensed child-care facility reports the number of students who are:
- “Up to date” on their immunizations
- “Conditional” entrants, still catching up on their immunizations (or with a temporary medical exemption)
- “Permanent medical exemption” holders
- “Personal belief exemption” holders — this category will disappear in a few years, because the State stopped accepting new personal belief exemptions in 2016
- “Overdue” without an exemption
We analyzed the State’s 2015-2016 immunization data for West Hollywood and nearby cities.
Childhood immunization rate for West Hollywood
The chart below shows the immunization rates for West Hollywood child-care facilities and West Hollywood-serving schools. We included child-care facilities and schools located in West Hollywood, plus the public schools near West Hollywood that serve West Hollywood residents. We’re using those facility/school-based rates as our estimates for children who live in West Hollywood.
The up-to-date rates were 85% for child care, 80% for kindergarten, and 98% for seventh grade. If we add in the conditional students who may have been partially immunized, the rates were 96% to 98%.
Immunization rate versus 10 years ago
To see how immunization rates have changed over time, we compared the 2015-2016 kindergarten immunization rate to 2005-2016. We focused on schools in West Hollywood and nearby public schools that serve West Hollywood.
Over 10 years, the up-to-date immunization rate for kindergarteners fell 10 percentage points, from 90% to 80%. The share of conditional entrants increased by the same 10 percentage points. We don’t know if the specific immunization requirements were changed during this period.
Immunization rate in child care versus nearby cities
We compared the immunization rates for West Hollywood to nearby cities, the county, and the state. We included Malibu as an example of a community with more personal belief exemptions.
The chart below shows the numbers for child-care facilities (based on the facility’s location, not the child’s city of residence). West Hollywood’s 85% up-to-date rate was above Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, but below Burbank and the county/state average of roughly 90%. West Hollywood may also have been a bit lower than Culver City and Los Angeles, but the difference wasn’t statistically significant. The city’s ranking would be the same if we included conditional entrants.
Immunization rate in kindergarten versus nearby cities
The up-to-date immunization rate was lower for kindergarteners at West Hollywood-serving schools (80%) than at schools in Burbank, Culver City, and Santa Monica. Los Angeles and Beverly Hills also appear to have been above West Hollywood, but the difference wasn’t statistically significant. If we include conditional entrants, West Hollywood’s rate (97%) was higher than Santa Monica and Beverly Hills.
Immunization rate in seventh grade versus nearby cities
West Hollywood-serving schools were near the top among nearby cities for the seventh-grade immunization rate (98%). Malibu was the only city we looked at with a seventh-grade rate below 96%.
Immunization rate in public versus private schools
On average, immunization rates were higher in public schools than private schools. The chart below shows the numbers for kindergarten students in Los Angeles County. The immunization rates were 90% public versus 86% private, or 98% versus 96% if we include conditional entrants.
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