Rates of measles vaccinations.
(photo credit: JERUSALEM INSTITUTE FOR POLICY RESEARCH)
In the 2017-2018 school year, the percentage of first graders in Jerusalem who were vaccinated against measles was 96.5%, according to data published by the Health Ministry. In cities with populations over 150,000, the highest rate of vaccination was in Petah Tikva (98.3%), followed by Bnai Brak (97.8%), Netanya (97.6%), Holon and Jerusalem (96.5%). Tel Aviv rated at the bottom of the list of large cities with only 94% of its first graders having been vaccinated against measles. Some of the cities registered a drop in the number of children being vaccinated and as a result, the average for this past year was lower than the previous two years. The cities that saw a drop in the number of vaccinations were Rishon Lezion (-1.5%), Tel Aviv (-1.4%) and Beersheba (-1.2%).Although these rates may seem very high, measles is a highly contagious disease, and while a person infected with influenza will infect on average two other people, a person with measles will infect between 12 and 18 people. In order to prevent an outbreak of the disease, cities must develop “herd immunity,” which requires that at least 17 out of 18 people (94%) be vaccinated. Some sources claim that with measles, the rate is a little lower and so only 90% of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity. The fact that this percentage is not evenly spread out within a city and some pockets have much lower rates is a major problem, since there are always people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. Thus, it is extremely important to retain high rates so that herd immunity can be reached.
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