Spatial Analysis of Vaccine Exemptions in California
This work with Dr. Maggie Carrel emerged from of a class project concerned with the rising number of exemptions to vaccine requirements in public schools. In the time since our research was published, legislation in California has made it much more difficult to obtain exemptions.
We found that exemption behavior is highest in peripheral areas of cities and that specific types of student populations are associated with high exemption rates. Further, PBE rates are positively associated with the percentage of white students, charter status and private schools. Finally, we mapped hotspots of high PBE schools and found that in some cases they are co-located with schools that have elevated personal medical exemption (PME) rates, prompting concern that herd immunity is diminished for school populations where students have no choice but to remain unvaccinated.
Our findings were published in 2015 in the journal Pediatrics.