The Media and I: Measles

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In a recent conversation with John Batchelor (CBS "Eye on the World"), we explored the resurgence of measles amidst a wave of vaccine hesitancy sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

I spoke with John Batchelor on-air recently about the important topic of the ongoing measles outbreak in the U.S. Reflecting on his childhood, John recalled the strict vaccination requirements of elementary school — every student needed an up-to-date vaccination card, with no exceptions. Vaccines were seen as essential and welcome protections against deadly diseases. I explained that the COVID-19 pandemic had sparked a wave of vaccine hesitancy. Misinformation now floods the airwaves and internet, sowing doubt and leading to declining vaccination rates. As a result, measles, once on the brink of eradication, is making a troubling comeback.

I pointed out the severity of measles; it isn’t simply a short-lived, self-limited childhood illness but can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis, and even death.

John wondered why we couldn't simply enforce vaccination mandates as in years past, and we discussed how political and legislative barriers make mandates challenging to implement. I pointed to historical Supreme Court decisions affirming the government’s right to mandate vaccines, noting that vaccine hesitancy has now extended even to pets, with veterinarians reporting decreased vaccination rates.

John characterized the politicization of vaccination as "The Freedom to Do Harm."

We ended our conversation with a discussion of “trust” in science and of the importance of prioritizing public health. As I put it, it's primarily a matter of public health, not politics or personal beliefs.


You can find our entire conversation here

Looking for a bit more?

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