05:08 GMT07 April 2020
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    Silicon Valley is thought to employ some of the greatest minds on Earth. Home to Google, Yahoo, Oracle and Cisco, many of the area's residents are highly educated and make great salaries.

    However, a study by Wired Magazine using data from the California Department of Public Health shows that many of those uber successful, well-educated denizens of the tech industry may also be part of the problem when it comes to the outbreaks of measles the US has been grappling with in recent months.

    Just 15 years ago, the Center for Disease Control declared measles eliminated in the country thanks to decades of universal vaccinations. Such vaccinations had been a cornerstone of health policy in the US and around the world since Jonas Salk developed a wildly-successful vaccine against polio in 1952. This innovation almost wiped out a disease which condemned thousands of children to the unimaginable suffering of living immobilized in an iron lung. From the 1960s on, no one thought to challenge the public health vaccine schedule or balked at providing schools with a record of their children's immunizations. 

    That started to change in 1998, when now-disgraced British physician Andrew Wakefield published research that purported to show a link between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) and autism. That research was eventually debunked but has continued to be a topic of debate much later even during the 2012 presidential race when candidate Michele Bachmann attempted to make the link between vaccines and autism. Even today, potential 2016 president candidates such as Senator Ted Cruz have expressed similar concerns while making the case of vaccinations one about individual choice versus government overreach.

    Recent outbreaks seem to suggest many parents are listening. According to the CDC, the US experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 644 cases from 27 states, the largest number since the disease was eliminated in 2000. So far this year, more than 120 people were reported to have contracted measles, mostly from an outbreak linked to Disneyland in California.

    Those numbers suggest a breakdown efforts to ensure a "herd immunity," the estimation that inoculating 92 percent of the population against the disease will help ensure that even those in the other 8 percent will be safe from the virus because no one around them will be contagious.

    Details about parents who have been declining to have their children vaccinated have been emerging and — contrary to popular belief — many have been shown to be well-educated members populating high-income coastal areas, demographics contrary to the stereotype of anti-government conspiracy theorists.

    Now Wired Magazine has found many of them to be working for major players in the tech industry. The magazine looked at 20 large technology and health companies in the Bay Area and researched their day care offerings. 

    "Of 12 day care facilities affiliated with tech companies, six-that's half-have below-average vaccination rates, according to the state's data," they found.

    Wired marked Google employees as particular offenders. More than 200 children enrolled between two Google childcare facilities in Silicon Valley. Wired found that one of them has an overall vaccination rate of 77 percent and, at the other, less than half were completely vaccinated. 

    They went on to note that those numbers are well below the required level of vaccinations for "herd immunity" and that the numbers at day care facilities connected to other companies are not much better.

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