©The Talon News | Brian L. Simpson
Vaccine Hesitancy Creates Global Issues
October 7, 2019
Measles is a highly contagious, potentially deadly disease, and the United States is having its biggest outbreak of the disease in 27 years. According to the CDC, as of Sept. 5, 2019, there have been a reported 1,241 cases in the U.S. Much of this is due to vaccine hesitancy, which the World Health Organization cites as one of the top ten health threats in 2019, surrounding the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine.
Individuals should vaccinate their children and appreciate the evidence supporting vaccines’ efficiency.
Based on a study done by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Texas is in danger of a massive outbreak. The study states that if the vaccine rate were to decrease by 5 percent, the chances for an outbreak would increase by 4000 percent in various communities. This is in large part due to the number of children going to school unvaccinated. Children who are vaccine exempt for moral or religious reasons have jumped from 2,300 in 2013 to 64,000 in 2016. In addition to this being a danger to those who are unvaccinated, it also is a threat to those around them. To have “herd immunity”, 80-95 percent of a population has to be vaccinated. When the levels dip below that, outbreaks are more likely. This is especially dangerous with highly infectious diseases like measles, where one immunized person can infect 12-16 others. (UPMC.com)
One of the main causes of vaccine hesitancy, particularly surrounding the MMR vaccine, stems from Andrew Wakefield, whose medical license has been revoked. Wakefield and colleagues published a study in 1998 suggesting a connection between the vaccine and developmental disorders, specifically autism. Despite being disputed countless times, the study caused and continues to cause dropped rates in MMR vaccination rates. Wakefield’s findings should never be used as an argument; his experiments were ethically questionable and used selective evidence. In addition to this, choosing to not vaccinate your children because you’re worried they will become autistic is ableist. It’s saying that it’s better to have a dead child than a disabled one.
Measles, and other diseases that have become less prevalent, should not be having outbreaks because of anti-vaxxers. Vaccinate your children and advocate for vaccination education to combat vaccine hesitancy.