In today’s society, schools are rated on a variety of scales: test scores, graduation rates, college acceptance rates, and more. Now, in the State of California, schools can be measured in one more way — by what percentage of its students are vaccinated and what percentage of parents claim personal belief exemptions. The Child Care/School Lookup tool, a component of the website Shots for School, allows parents to identify any school or childcare facility in California or within a certain zip code in that state, and view its 2013-2014 vaccination status. The stats include the percentage of students with all required vaccine doses, with personal belief exemptions, and those who have received particular immunizations, such as: varicella (chickenpox), hepatitis B, Hib, MMR, polio, and DTaP or Tdap depending on the age searched. These stats combine to form a scale that ranges from most vulnerable to safest, thereby providing a vaccination profile of any facility that reported its statistics.
Because a pillar of vaccination is the concept of herd immunity — the idea that if enough people in a community or setting are immunized, the entire community is less susceptible to an outbreak — the tool provides parents with a great snapshot of a particular facility’s or community’s potential for outbreaks of some vaccine-preventable diseases.