Despite pushback from public health organizations, responsible journalists and a growing number of elected leaders, the dangerous and unscientific anti-vaccination movement shows no sign of going away.
This is partly why the World Health Organization last month called "vaccine hesitancy" one of the 10 biggest threats to global health, noting the shocking 30 percent increase in measles cases worldwide last year. In 2000, measles was considered to have been eliminated in the United States. But last year, the U.S. had its second-most cases since 2000.
"If ever there was a disease that you really wanted to vaccinate everyone against, it would be measles," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Washington Times. "It's highly transmissible, potentially really serious infection and has a vaccine that is incredibly effective."
Parents should heed Fauci, not discredited theories about vaccines being toxins.
Unfortunately, only four states now have at least the 95 percent measles vaccination rate needed for "herd immunity." In Clark County, Washington, where 7.9 percent of children were not vaccinated last school year, a measles outbreak involves at least 41 cases. State officials have declared an emergency and school officials have warned that students could be sent home.
The World Health Organization says vaccine hesitancy is complex and varies based on time, place and disease. The world doesn't need it to get worse. So who should you trust? Health workers, to start. Vaccinations prevent 2-3 million deaths a year. That's science talking.
— Reprinted with permission from the San Diego Union-Tribune