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March 28, 2001

Public Health Risks of Not Vaccinating Children

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;285(12):1573-1574. doi:10.1001/jama.285.12.1573

To the Editor: The article on vaccine "exemptors" by Dr Feikin and colleagues1 concludes that 11% of the vaccinated children who contracted measles (11% of 137 during a 12-year period, or about 1.25 per year) were infected by an exemptor. The annual risk that a vaccinated child would contract measles from an exemptor would thus be about 1 in 1 million if the incidence were equal in all years. It isn't. There were 55 622 cases of measles reported nationwide from 1989-1991, and 326 from 1997-1999. Is the reason the authors chose to use the years 1987-1998 for measles, when the period 1996-1998 was used for pertussis, to include the 1989-1991 measles epidemic?

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