Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health      

kidsdata advisory

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health | June 30, 2015

Vaccines: CA has 39% of U.S. whooping cough cases

Today, Governor Brown signed SB 277 into law, eliminating the personal belief exemption from mandatory school vaccinations. This year, 13,592 kindergartners in California were not vaccinated due to personal belief exemptions. Next year, that number will drop to zero.

And new research released last week shows that the state is home to 39% of the nation's whooping cough cases, a vaccine-preventable disease, according to data available on This is a vastly disproportionate share considering California's population represents only 12 percent of the total U.S. population.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening complications. The risk is highest for infants and young children. The number of pertussis cases in the U.S. has risen over the last decade. Some say the surge can be attributed to improved diagnostic techniques, lower vaccination rates, or possibly, a less effective vaccine that was introduced in 1991.

Across the state, vaccination rates vary widely. For example, the proportion of kindergarten students in 2015 who received all state-required immunizations ranges from 100 percent (Sierra County) to 72 percent (Nevada County). Across school districts, vaccination coverage varies as widely as it does between developed and developing regions around the world.

Researchers have identified the need for more effective vaccines to ward off future pertussis outbreaks. In the meantime, they stress that vaccination is essential for people of all ages.

For more information, join us for Vaccination and Vaccine-Preventable Childhood Diseases: Data and Trends, a webinar on July 8 that will explore global, national, and California trends in vaccination and vaccine-preventable childhood disease.

Related Data:

Helpful Links

California Immunization Coalition

Immunization: Updates and Information

Shots for School

Vaccines and Immunizations

Progress Stalls On Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Solutions to Reducing Vaccine-Preventable Childhood Diseases

Timing of Measles Immunization and Effective Population Vaccine Coverage

Vaccines Are Not Associated with Autism: An Evidence-Based Meta-Analysis of Case-Control and Cohort Studies

Kidsdata Tip

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Vaccine-Preventable Childhood Diseases, by Disease
Year: 2014
Vaccine-Preventable Disease: Pertussis (whooping cough)

Pertussis Mascots is a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation of Children's Health, which uses data to promote the health and well being of children.
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