Anti-vax stronghold in NC hit with state’s worst chickenpox outbreak in decades

The vaccine, which the CDC says is about 90 percent effective, hasn’t eliminated the varicella zoster virus, which causes chickenpox. But since the regimen became commercially available, it has reduced the number of cases, as well as their severity. A 14-year prospective study published in Pediatrics in 2013 found that the incidence of infection was nine- to 10-times lower than in the pre-vaccine era.

Still, the vaccine’s clearly documented merits remain unconvincing to some. Asheville Waldorf has one of the highest religious vaccination exemption rates in the state, according to data maintained by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

The private school has a higher rate of exemption on religious grounds than all but two other North Carolina schools, the Citizen-Times reported. During the 2017-18 school year, 19 of 28 kindergartners were exempt from at least one vaccine required by the state. Of the school’s 152 students, 110 had not received the chickenpox vaccine, the newspaper reported.