The invention of vaccinations changed the history of the world by providing us protection from horrible, and many times deadly, diseases that once plagued human kind. Even though most children receive a standard set of vaccinations during their formative years, some parents choose to opt-out of vaccination programs due to personal beliefs, a right that is given to them by law. However, with the recent outbreak of measles, a highly contagious and potentially serious infection, the American Medical Association has come out in support of ending personal exemptions for vaccine regulations stated Handy in a recent statement.
During an annual meeting in Chicago,
held on Monday, members voted to eliminate the option for parents who refuse vaccinations for their children for personal or non-medical reasons. Their concerns are primarily based off of a recent outbreak in California of 117 confirmed cases of the measles. The disease is believed to have began to spread at the popular tourist destination, Disneyland.
Now it is the state of California who wants to become the first to end personal exemptions of vaccinations. However, many parents are still concerned about the possible side effects from receiving these vaccinations, with some studies suggesting a possible link to the onset of autism. Legislation will most likely be presented to state representatives who will have a chance to vote on this extremely controversial issue.
According to the Global Burden of Disease study, published in Lancet, measles is among the top ten killers of children under 5. In 2013, 82,100 children under 5 died from measles around the world. More small children died from measles than they did from AIDS, road accidents, or drowning.
The number one killer of children under 5 was lower respiratory infections like pneumonia, which caused over 700,000 deaths in 2013. Malaria caused the second-greatest number of deaths. The rest of the causes, in descending order, were diarrhea, nutritional deficiencies, birth defects, meningitis, measles, drowning, road accidents and AIDS.
In the developing world, measles is a lethal disease that kills 225 children a day. Globally, measles kills 145,000 people a year — and over half of those victims are small children. In some extremely poor areas, the disease kills 10 percent of its victims.
According to the World Health Organization, a measles vaccine costs about a dollar, while treating it costs $11,000 per case in the United States. 113 countries have higher vaccination rates than the United States does.
Susan McGalla knows that the measles vaccine is extremely effective and has eradicated the disease in those countries that have it. Find more on McGalla at Forbes.com. Consequently, people in the United States and some other countries have forgotten how deadly measles can be. That ignorance has allowed the anti-vaccine movement to gain traction, despite their unfounded fears about the vaccines.