In a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the second largest outbreak of measles since 2000 was confirmed.
The number of outbreaks of diseases has been steadily increasing over the last few years, as the anti-vaccination sentiment grows amongst populations who believe that vaccinating their children will cause autism, even though there is no scientific proof to back the claim.
The World Health Organization (WHO) even listed it as one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019, saying, “Vaccine hesitancy – the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines – threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases.”
According to the CDC, there have been 465 individual cases of measles confirmed in 19 states, which is the second-highest number of cases reported in the United States since measles was eliminated in 2000.
One of the ongoing outbreaks of measles was in Rockland County, New York, where it was reported on March 27 by USA Today that officials had declared a state of emergency.
“The reason measles is coming back is that a critical number of parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children,’’ said Paul Offit, who is the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “If you get to a few thousand cases, you’ll start to see children die of measles again.’’
According to the WHO article, vaccines prevent 2 million to 3 million deaths a year, and those numbers could be increased by another 1.5 million if the global coverage of vaccines improved.
These outbreaks are also caused in part by travelers abroad who contract measles and bring the disease back to the United States, or from people in “U.S. communities with pockets of unvaccinated people,” according to the CDC.
Frankly, this is unacceptable. Time and time again, research has shown that there is no link between having a child vaccinated and then the child developing autism. The misinformation that spreads — whether it be from social media or word of mouth — is dangerous to public health.
Not only does it put children at risk for not contracting measles, but any other disease that they could die from. It puts both children and society at risk when there is an outbreak of a disease. It is selfish to put a child and others at risk for a claim that is both unsubstantiated and utterly ridiculous.
There should be no way for this to happen. Vaccines were created for a reason, to protect populations. Why should we as a society have to regress and see terrible diseases that were essentially eradicated come back and cause pain?
The answer is that we should not. There should be laws in place for mandated vaccinations for all, with punishments of fines or jail time. There is no excuse for not vaccinating.
History is there for us to learn from. If we do not apply what it has given us, we will find ourselves dealing with a worse outbreak that will put so many lives at risk.