Vaccines prevent diseases.
Being unvaccinated puts health and lives at risk.
Vaccine hesitancy—a reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite availability of vaccines—remains a vexing problem, and major public health risk in the U.S. and abroad.
Vaccine hesitancy is among the top 10 public health threats worldwide, alongside Ebola, H.I.V. and drug resistant infections.
Skeptics, who question the validity of immunization, may not be taking into full consideration the vastly greater dangers of the diseases that vaccines keep in check. Highly contagious and deadly diseases that had been eradicated through immunization have made a comeback.
The United States eliminated measles in 2000, but in 2019 the number of cases skyrocketed, largely because of public resistance to receiving the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. In some European countries, measles is widespread. In the pacific island nation of Samoa – population: 200,000 – almost 6,000 cases of measles and 83 deaths, mostly young children, between September and December 2019 have been reported.
New research reveals that, even when patients recover, the measles virus can suppress the immune system, rendering children susceptible to serious infections like pneumonia and the flu.
Why do some adults choose not to vaccinate their children or themselves, when the risks – harming health and risking lives – are well proven?
Some say misinformation spread after a 1998 article implied a link between measles vaccinations and autism was published in a medical journal. The article was retracted in 2010 over concerns around the validity of the study. Yet, fueled by the internet and social media, the false claim that vaccines cause autism spread like wildfire… even after evidence from at least six studies involving more than one million children show that measles-mumps-rubella vaccinations do not cause autism.
This article includes excerpts from commentary by Peter J. Hotez published in the New York Times. Dr. Hotez is a vaccine scientist and pediatrician at the Baylor College of Medicine.
The Many Faces of Vaccine Hesitancy
Parents across the world can agree on at least one thing: they want the best for their children. And for most, “the best” includes good health and well-being. So why do some parents put their children at risk of dangerous, potentially deadly infectious diseases by not getting vaccines according to the schedule prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization? read more...