By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Star
Gov. Doug Ducey won’t support eliminating the ability of parents to claim a personal exemption for their children from vaccines despite a new published study showing the state’s largest county at risk for a measles epidemic.
“Ultimately, decisions are going to be left to parents,” he told a group of business journalists meeting Friday in Phoenix. “But there are things we can do in terms of public policy” to incentivize that.
And the governor insisted that Arizona has been “pretty good” at using education to encourage vaccinations.
But the numbers from his own health department tell a different story.
State Health Director Cara Christ has reported the percentage of kindergartners who claim a “personal belief exemption” from one or more vaccines has increased from 1.4% in 2000 to 5.4% last year. And there was a big jump in the past 12 months, with the exemption level now at nearly 6%.