Vaccination Rates Worry Colorado Health Officials

Feb 6, 2015

Colorado is one of twenty states that allow parents to opt-out of vaccines with a personal belief exemption form.
Credit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District

The national measles outbreak has state and local health officials concerned. 

Last month 102 people from 14 states were reported to have measles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One of those cases was reported in Colorado and a majority of them are part of an outbreak linked to a California amusement park.  

That’s why state and local health officials are urging adults to get vaccinated and parents to inoculate their kids against the disease.

"We are worried about it in the state of Colorado due to low immunizations rates," Dr. Sharon Grundy, the medical director of primary care at the Telluride Medical Center, says. 

Grundy says if  you are vaccinated against measles then you probably won't get it. 

"All of the [recent] reports [of measles] have come from unvaccinated children or adults," she says. "This concerns us [because] if you have a low rate of immunized people in a community you start to see higher rates of infection."

Colorado is one of twenty states that allow parents to opt-out of vaccines with a personal belief exemption form. Gundy says that might be why Colorado kindergartners have the lowest vaccination rate for measles in the nation.

Health officials say the people they are most concerned about contracting the disease are those who can’t be vaccinated like infants under a year old and individuals with weakened immune systems.