To the chagrin of New Mexico’s public health authorities, the rate at which parents are seeking exemptions from vaccinations in Los Alamos is three times the state rate. Los Alamos, home to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, is one of only two places in the U.S. that undertakes classified work in nuclear design. That makes Los Alamos one of the most scientifically literate communities in the world and an embarrassment to the state’s public health establishment, which thinks these scientists should know better.
“Many people in Los Alamos don’t just have college degrees – they’re scientists, with lots of degrees. Los Alamos National Laboratory in fact has done some heavy research on infectious disease and development of an HIV vaccine,” reports a bewildered Albuquerque Journal, after interviewing various experts as to why this community in particular is such an outlier. Los Alamos isn’t “one of the state’s known hotbeds for crystal gazing, cradle therapy or psychic readings.”
Santa Fe, another highly affluent, well-educated community, also reports a high exemption rate — 2.5 times the state average.
The high rate in either community didn’t bewilder reporter Mark Oswald enough, in his article, Los Alamos schools top NM in vaccine exemptions, to ask any of the high-IQ parents why they were avoiding vaccinations, which in New Mexico is tougher to do than elsewhere.
Philosophical exemptions aren’t allowed at all while religious and especially medical exemptions are stringent. For example, a physician must judge that a vaccine would “seriously endanger the life or health of the child” for a child to be exempted; merely endangering the child’s life or health presumably wouldn’t meet the state’s standard. The exemption requirements apply to home-schooled children as well as those enrolled in public and private schools or those who are in attendance at daycare or other child facility. Moreover, the exemption lasts for only nine months, after which a new request for exemption would be required.