Researchers have identified several geographic hot spots in the Bay Area where parents are not vaccinating their children, triggering concern about potential outbreaks of dangerous and preventable infectious diseases.
This unique study — which uses statistical software to match electronic medical records to home addresses of Kaiser patients — reveals precisely where physicians can target their vaccination efforts and detect disease outbreaks quicker.
One cluster is in the East Bay communities of El Cerrito, Berkeley, Oakland and Alameda, where parents rejected vaccines for 10.2 percent of children. The second was in the northern part of San Francisco, as well as Marin County and the southwestern part of Sonoma County, with a 6.6 percent rate of vaccine refusal.
“Anecdotally, doctors have reported that a lot of parents in a particular neighborhood or county have hesitations about vaccines,” said lead investigator Dr. Tracy A. Lieu of Kaiser’s Division of Research, based in Oakland. “This is the first time we’ve used computers to actually find these clusters.”