Measles outbreaks lead states to reconsider vaccine exemptions

A single dose of MMR at Kaiser Permanente East Medical offices in Denver

Saskatchewan now does not have a confirmed measles case, and has not had one since 2014 when there was 16 reported cases. Measles outbreaks nationwide have reignited the debate on vaccination requirements, and NY should seize this opportunity to become the fourth state to ban non-medical exemptions from school vaccination requirements.

But we can not be complacent.

That, in turn, has spurred a debate about mandatory vaccination versus the rights of parents to make health decisions for their children. Imported measles cases will often find those who are susceptible to the disease. Most states have regulations about vaccinations as a requirement for school attendance.

The rise in anti-vaccination sentiment has corresponded with a startling rise in denial of established science.

The medical field should be taking a unified approach to countering the claims made by the anti-vaccine movement, says Brant's medical officer of health. Prior to the development of a measles vaccine in 1963, there were 2.6 million deaths from measles worldwide per year.

Globally, measles cases saw a 30 percent increase in 2017 and killed an estimated 110,000 people, according to the WHO. "Any imported case will only spread to a small number of secondary cases". The data and immunological science can not be clearer: Vaccines work.

Virologists quantify the infectiousness of a disease based on its reproduction number (R number), which is the average number of people that every person with the disease will secondarily infect.

Mandatory vaccination is hardly a new concept. The causative virus is known as measles virus.

The opposition to being vaccinated against measles comes from what are called anti-vaxers who are convinced the vaccine can cause autism. Most of the cases are linked to two French-language schools after an unvaccinated child contracted the disease during a trip to Vietnam.

"A highly-vaccinated population, where over 85 per cent, and, ideally, greater than 95 per cent of the population is vaccinated, can truncate [the] spread [of measles] dramatically", Ward said. In day cares, only medical exemptions are allowed. When California passed an even stricter law in 2015, the sponsor - state Sen.

"Governor Polis believes that forcing people to receive shots they don't want creates mistrust of government, mistrust of vaccinations, and would ultimately backfire and hurt public health", said Laurie Cipriano, press secretary for Gov. Polis, in an email.

Measles, a risky disease that was all but wiped out almost two decades ago due to widespread vaccinations, is making a comeback worldwide, including in North Carolina.

Still, a growing number of people rely on debunked junk science and other false information to back up their belief that vaccines are unsafe.

Why are people so skeptical about vaccinating their children?

New and innovative ways to counteract this fake news will be increasingly important in the future, says Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health and Institute of Healthcare Management.

"I don't know what the answer is but there has to be a unified approach across the country". NY should end non-medical exemptions once and for all.



Other news