We at ACSH are happy to give a shout-out to Sheila M. Eldred, whose August op-ed on Discovery.com reflects what we have been screaming for years that the failure to have children vaccinated is a terrible mistake that is caused by a number of factors.
One of which is exemption, an increasingly common (yet foolish) loophole in state vaccination laws that allows parents to forego vaccinations for their children, typically for no reason. Eldred says, The number of Americans requesting exemptions for vaccinations is continuing to rise, a 2012 study found. The current measles outbreak connected to Eagle Mountain International Church case in Newark, Texas, is a perfect example of how diseases that can be controlled through vaccinations are making comebacks in pockets.
Eldred mentions ACSH trustee, Dr. Paul Offit, chief of the division of infectious diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Regarding measles, Offit says, The outbreak in Texas is the perfect example of how contagious measles is. The viral respiratory disease is also potentially serious: it can lead to pneumonia. Of children younger than 5 years who had it in 2011, 38 percent were hospitalized.
But it is not just measles that is a problem. The article points out that there have been recent outbreaks of mumps, as well as whooping cough (pertussis) and meningitis from Haemophilus influenzae both of which can be fatal to babies and all of which are preventable by safe and highly effective vaccines.
Yet, this resistance to vaccination persists, (or even grows). Much of it is a result of the fraudulent work of Andrew Wakefield, a British physician (who lost his license to practice), which convinced millions that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine was responsible for autism. This was examined from every possible angle and the result no link between MMR and any vaccine, and autism was indisputable.
ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom comments, it is impossible to know exactly how much damage this one dishonest man did, but I suspect it is enormous.
We encourage you to check out an excellent history of the Wakefield fraud case. Although it is in cartoon form, there is nothing funny about it. And it is very clear and convincing. This is very important information for you to have.