According to an article that appeared this month in The New York Times, 2017 may be the year we begin to see “a reversal of several decades in steady public health gains” due to the anti-vaccination movement gaining traction. The first outbreak will be measles, the article states, which is one of the most contagious and lethal of human diseases. Due to the high levels of transmissibility, it does not take the percentage of children who have received the measles vaccine to fall very far before a major outbreak becomes a reality.
The main reason cited by anti-vaccinators to avoid vaccinations is the purported link between vaccines and autism. The American Academy of Pediatrics produced a document examining the evidence of vaccine safety and lists all of the studies that clearly show there is no link between vaccines and autism. Despite this evidence, the real danger is that we are focusing more and more on what the article calls a “myth,” that vaccines cause autism, and less on what an outbreak of measles could mean for communities at large.