Wisconsin parents choosing to skip immunizations

An increasing number of parents in the state of Wisconsin have chosen not to have their children immunized against measles and other diseases.

Twenty years ago, less than one percent of students opted out of shots against measles and other childhood diseases. In 2011, close to four percent decided not to get the vaccinations, the Associated Press reports.

Parents Taka and Bridget Hirata obtained a personal conviction waiver from school immunization requirements for their child. The Hiratas believe that the body can fight diseases naturally and they worry about the risks that vaccines may present.

"I feel safer with him getting the measles than getting a vaccine he could have a reaction from," Bridget Hirata said, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

While Wisconsin requires 15 doses of five vaccines for children to enter kindergarten, it is one of 20 states that allow parents to obtain waivers.

"As more people get waivers, our herd immunity goes down to the point where the entire community is at risk," James Conway, a pediatric disease specialist, said, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. "(Not vaccinating children) is like putting your kids out in traffic. They might not get hit by a car, but if they do that's a world of hurt."