Conscientious vaccination exemptions in kindergarten to eighth-grade children across Texas schools from 2012 to 2018: A regression analysis

Autoři: Maike Morrison aff001;  Lauren A. Castro aff001;  Lauren Ancel Meyers aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Integrative Biology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, United States of America aff001;  Analytics, Intelligence, and Technology Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States of America aff002;  The Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States of America aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: Conscientious vaccination exemptions in kindergarten to eighth-grade children across Texas schools from 2012 to 2018: A regression analysis. PLoS Med 17(3): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1003049
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003049



As conscientious vaccination exemption (CVE) percentages rise across the United States, so does the risk and occurrence of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles. In the state of Texas, the median CVE percentage across school systems more than doubled between 2012 and 2018. During this period, the proportion of schools surpassing a CVE percentage of 3% rose from 2% to 6% for public schools, 20% to 26% for private schools, and 17% to 22% for charter schools. The aim of this study was to investigate this phenomenon at a fine scale.

Methods and findings

Here, we use beta regression models to study the socioeconomic and geographic drivers of CVE trends in Texas. Using annual counts of CVEs at the school system level from the 2012–2013 to the 2017–2018 school year, we identified county-level predictors of median CVE percentage among public, private, and charter schools, the proportion of schools below a high-risk threshold for vaccination coverage, and five-year trends in CVEs. Since the 2012–2013 school year, CVE percentages have increased in 41 out of 46 counties in the top 10 metropolitan areas of Texas. We find that 77.6% of the variation in CVE percentages across metropolitan counties is explained by median income, the proportion of the population that holds a bachelor's degree, the proportion of the population that self-reports as ethnically white, the proportion of the population that is English speaking, and the proportion of the population that is under the age of five years old. Across the 10 top metropolitan areas in Texas, counties vary considerably in the proportion of school systems reporting CVE percentages above 3%. Sixty-six percent of that variation is explained by the proportion of the population that holds a bachelor’s degree and the proportion of the population affiliated with a religious congregation. Three of the largest metropolitan areas—Austin, Dallas–Fort Worth, and Houston—are potential vaccination exemption "hotspots," with over 13% of local school systems above this risk threshold. The major limitations of this study are inconsistent school-system-level CVE reporting during the study period and a lack of geographic and socioeconomic data for individual private schools.


In this study, we have identified high-risk communities that are typically obscured in county-level risk assessments and found that public schools, like private schools, are exhibiting predictable increases in vaccination exemption percentages. As public health agencies confront the reemerging threat of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases, findings such as ours can guide targeted interventions and surveillance within schools, cities, counties, and sociodemographic subgroups.

Klíčová slova:

Census – Measles – Public and occupational health – Schools – Texas – Urban areas – Vaccination and immunization – Vaccines


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