MCNTalk has written about the question of foregoing childhood immunizations multiple times over the past few years. As these two articles (Measles Cases in U.S. Reach a 20-Year High and Putting Us All at Risk for Measles) notes, consequences of individual choices are serious ones, not just for those involved in the decision to not vaccinate, but for society at large. As editorialist Pauline W. Chen, MD succinctly explains: In any given population, there would always be individuals who would not develop immunity to measles, even after receiving the vaccine, or who could not receive the vaccine because they were too young (less than a year old) or had immune systems already weakened from diseases like cancer or AIDS.
But health care experts discovered that if at least 95 percent of a community were immunized against measles, all the members of that group would be safe. Even if someone with the disease entered the community, the immunized majority would serve as a “buffer zone” preventing further spread to unimmunized individuals.
The initial study indicating a possible connection between vaccinations and autism has been thoroughly debunked, and its author debarred from the practice of medicine for ethical lapses, but the number of measles cases in the US and worldwide continues to increase. In fact, measles remains the greatest vaccine-preventable cause of death among children worldwide. At what point do individual rights outweigh the public good? Read more…
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