Ask The Expert - I am a concerned parent that lives in a school district where parents opting out of vaccination by using the religious exemption is about 6%. As a parent that vaccinates their child and sees the tremendous value of vaccines, I am concerned about children endangering my child because they are not vaccinated. Are my fears founded or does vaccinating my child protect them from these children that aren’t vaccinated.

Published: August 30, 2013
Sponsored By: Undefined
Session Expert: Paul Offit, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia



I am a concerned parent that lives in a school district where parents opting out of vaccination by using the religious exemption is about 6%. As a parent that vaccinates their child and sees the tremendous value of vaccines, I am concerned about children endangering my child because they are not vaccinated. Are my fears founded or does vaccinating my child protect them from these children that aren’t vaccinated.

Unfortunately, you fears are well-founded. That’s because no vaccine is 100 percent effective.

To support this statement, there was a study reported in the Journal of Infectious Diseases about a measles outbreak in the Netherlands that involved several thousand people. Surprisingly, you were more like to catch measles if you were vaccinated and living in a highly unvaccinated community than if you were unvaccinated living in a highly vaccinated community. In other words, you were better off living in a situation where you were unlikely to catch measles (i.e., a highly vaccinated community) than if you were in a situation where your risk of exposure was great.

Back To Expert Session