It continues to amaze me that there remains any debate over child vaccinations. I have posted about this issue before. Yet today I read that over 102 cases of Measles have been diagnosed this year, 2015, and it is only the beginning of February! In fact, as you may read below, that number accounts for the typical annual number of cases for past years.
Much misinformation and disinformation has been shared about vaccines. The truth is that vaccines help prevent disease and death by creating what is known as herd immunity. If 900 out of 1000 children are vaccinated with the MMR vaccine, over time, the group develops immunity and helps prevent disease in the rest of the group. The greater the number of individuals who are immune, the smaller the chance that a susceptible individual will contract the disease.
Review the readily available public information on the CDC website. You can find it here.
The following is the excerpt from the AMA Morning Rounds. It contains interesting comments about this issue.
"CDC: Measles outbreak has grown to more than 100 cases.
The measles outbreak continues to generate an extensive amount of media coverage, with reporting divided between the growing outbreak and comments regarding vaccines made by politicians. The topics were discussed on two of last night’s national news broadcasts for a total of more than three-and-a-half minutes. Meanwhile, all major US newspapers and wires offered coverage. Many of the stories focusing on the outbreak quote Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, or CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. NBC Nightly News (2/2, story 4, 2:25, Williams) reported, “New numbers out from the CDC” indicate that the measles “outbreak has grown to 102 cases in 14 states.” Additionally, “we’re seeing politicians entering the fray possibly at their peril over whether children should receive the measles vaccine that once eradicated the disease.”
ABC World News (2/2, story 7, 1:10, Muir) reported that “the American Academy of Pediatrics” is “calling for parents to vaccinate their children.”
The Washington Post (2/3, Berman) reports, “The large number of cases so far this year has already eclipsed the number typically reported each year, according to” Dr. Schuchat.
TIME (2/3, Sifferlin) reports that in a press conference last week, Dr. Schuchat said, “It’s only January and we have already had a very large number of measles cases — as many cases as we have all year in typical years.” She added, “This worries me, and I want to do everything possible to prevent measles from getting a foothold in the United States and becoming endemic again.”
The New York Times (2/3, Grady) “Well” blog reports that while “most infections are linked to” the “outbreak that began in Disneyland in December,” which was “almost certainly started by someone who brought the disease in from” outside of the US, “a ‘smattering’ of other imported cases have also occurred, according to” Dr. Schuchat.
The Los Angeles Times (2/3, Mejia, Hamilton) reports that “of the confirmed measles cases in” California, “59 can be linked to visitors or employees at Disneyland or those who came in contact with them over the holidays.”
Bloomberg News (2/3, Edney) reports that although “the anti-vaccination campaign seemed to reach a fever pitch in recent years with the help of celebrity endorsements, the movement goes back further, and it may be that the early wave of kids who never had their shots are the adults now at greatest risk.” Dr. Schuchat said last week, “Based on what we know now, we’re seeing more adults than we have seen in a typical outbreak.” According to Dr. Schuchat, “The majority of the adults and children that are reported to us for which we have information did not get vaccinated or don’t know whether they have been vaccinated.” She added, “This is not a problem with the measles vaccine not working; this is a problem of the measles vaccine not being used.”
The Boston Globe (2/3) editorializes that “the cause” of the measles outbreak “is clear: parents who have refused to have their children vaccinated.” According to the Globe, “A parent’s concerns for his or her children is understandable, but the fears about vaccines are simply irrational.”
The New York Times (2/3, Subscription Publication) editorializes that “it is bad enough that many misguided parents are endangering their own children by refusing to let them be vaccinated against measles and other contagious diseases.” However, according to the Times, “it is shockingly irresponsible of them to put other children and adults at risk of catching measles from their unvaccinated children.”
Christie, Paul spark controversy with remarks on vaccinations. The AP (2/3, Colvin) reports New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday said that “parents should have some choice on whether to vaccinate their children.” While Christie has previously expressed that stance, Monday’s remarks “drew a new level of attention amid a U.S. measles outbreak and his recent moves toward” a potential White House run. Later Monday, Christie’s office said in a statement that “the governor believes ‘with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated.’”
Politico (2/2, Topaz) reported that Christie, who’s in the midst of a three-day visit to the UK, said that he and his wife “have had our children vaccinated, and we think that it’s an important part of being sure we protect their health and the public health.” Christie, added, however, “I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well, so that’s the balance that the government has to decide.” Politico said that Christie’s comments “appeared to break with President Barack Obama and public health officials worried about a measles outbreak.”
USA Today (2/2, Camia, Today) reports, “Christie said the ‘balance’ is necessary because of different diseases and vaccines, and he stressed that his comments are not meant to suggest that vaccinations are optional.”
The Los Angeles Times (2/3, Lauter), in a report that focuses heavily on Christie’s remarks, says that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Monday also “waded into the argument over childhood vaccinations,” saying “that he had heard of ‘many tragic cases’ of children suffering harm after receiving shots.” The Times says that the remarks by the two potential GOP presidential hopefuls, in tandem with Obama’s “defense of vaccinations over the weekend, injected an unexpectedly partisan element into a policy issue – how readily to give exemptions to parents who don’t want vaccines for their children – that until now had not shown much partisan division.” The Washington Times (2/3, Pompi, Sherfinski) reports that Paul, speaking on Monday with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, “said that while he is not ‘anti-vaccine’ at all, he does think they should be voluntary.”
On its front page, the Washington Post (2/3, A1, Rucker, Helderman) reports that Christie’s remarks and his office’s later clarification were “a sign of the sensitivity surrounding the vaccination debate” and served to underscore “the intense scrutiny already facing the broad field of likely” GOP presidential hopefuls. The Post also notes Paul’s comments on vaccinations.
The New York Times (2/3, Peters, Pérez-Peña, Subscription Publication) also covers the story. In an editorial, the Wall Street Journal (2/3, Subscription Publication) criticizes Christie over his remarks on vaccinations."