A Call for Federally Mandated Measles Vaccination


In 2000, measles was officially declared eradicated in the United States. Eradicated. Then, in 2014, 644 cases of measles were reported nationwide. This year alone, there have already been 170 reported cases. How is it possible for an outbreak to occur more than a decade later after a disease has been eradicated?

U.S. Measles Cases by Year (2000-2015); Source: http://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html

The problem is as simple to understand as it is complex to tackle. More and more parents are “opting-out” of having their children vaccinated. Some children have medical conditions that may be exacerbated by certain vaccines. However, aside from these relatively rare medical exemptions, an increasing number of parents chose not to have their children vaccinated on religious or philosophical grounds. Almost all states allow religious exemptions, and twenty states allow philosophical exemptions for those who object to immunizations because of personal beliefs. These policies must change if we, as a society, wish to keep this disease under control.

Measles is among the most contagious of all infectious diseases. In an unvaccinated population, an infected individual will, on average, spread the disease to 12-18 other people. At least 95% of the population must be vaccinated in order to prevent the disease from spreading rapidly. More than half of all states did not meet this target in past years. Measles is not a state issue; it is a national issue. This was highlighted by a recent outbreak at Disneyland in California, which caused 125 documented cases in 17 states. Such a potent disease should be dealt with on the national scale, under one set of guidelines that apply to all U.S. citizens. We must act to prohibit religious and philosophical exemptions if there is to be any hope of once again attaining national measles eradication status. Please contact your local representative here and join the fight for universal measles vaccination.


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