Boulder Activist Buys Billboard To Confront High Vaccine Opt-Outs

BOULDER, CO — Lindsay Diamond, the Boulder County-based immunization advocate who won the Center For Disease Control’s Colorado Immunization Champion award in December, has a new campaign — and this one is larger than life. Diamond and her non-profit, Community Immunity, have paid to rent the billboard on Colo. 93 heading south from town.

“Preventing Immunity is worth a shot,” the billboard reads in large letters. Fine-print statistics are printed below to bolster the claim: “Immunization currently prevents between 2–3 million deaths a year.”

Boulder often draws comparisons to Portland, Oregon, and Asheville, North Carolina. Here’s one that most people haven’t heard: All three have recently documented high numbers of parents opting their kids out of vaccines. An Asheville school saw a chickenpox outbreak last fall. A rash of measles diagnoses spread across Portland last weekend. Experts say that to effectively protect against a disease like measles, a community needs a 93 to 95 percent immunity rate. The 2018 up-to-date vaccine rate for both Boulder and St. Vrain Valley School Districts was about 90 percent.

The Asheville Citizen-Times noted that “Parents who reject vaccines are more likely to be college-educated with higher family income.” Exemption rates are often highest at private schools — yet scientific evidence of vaccination risks haven’t played out.

Boulder, as one of the highest-earning and best-educated communities in the state, also has Colorado’s highest rate of exemptions.

“If you talk about climate science and evolution, you see people following scientific consensus,” Diamond told the Daily Camera, speaking about the general Boulder population But with vaccines, you have this strange divergence because it’s a personal thing.”

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