Eighty students at Brunswick North West Primary in Australia—which has called for tolerance over opposing vaccination views—have contracted chickenpox.
The Age reports that at least 80 children out of the 320 students at the school may have contracted the disease. A Department of Health spokesman told the paper the agency does not have firm figures on how many students have been infected, “but we’ve been advised that over the period there has been an absentee rate of about 25 per cent on any given day.”
According to the paper, the school has a lower immunization rate than other local and national averages, citing a May newsletter from the school’s principal that put the school’s rate at 73.2% immunized. The local rate outside the school is 94%.
In one newsletter the school wrote, “Staff respect the rights of every family to make choices about immunisation and we will definitely not exclude children who are not fully immunised from our service,” according to The Age. “We expect all community members to act respectfully and with tolerance when interacting with other parents and carers who may have a differing opinion to their own. This includes an opposing understanding about child immunisation.”
Chickenpox is a highly contagious infection and the vaccine is 98% effective.