Needle syringe with a vaccine bottle. Credit: NIH

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Decades ago, parents who chose not to immunize their kids for philosophical or religious reasons were a tiny fraction of the population, according to an inewsourceanalysis of California data.

Their numbers are still small, but they grew from about one-half of a percent in the 1980s and ‘90s, to 2.5 percent statewide in this most recent school year.

“Parents did not question the vaccines at that time. I think there was a lot more confidence and trust in the physicians,” said Catherine Flores-Martin, director of the California Immunization Coalition, a vaccine advocacy group.

Blame the Internet and a now discredited study linking autism to vaccines for the mistrust and misinformation about vaccine safety, Flores-Martin said.
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