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Outbreaks of measles cause more countries to limit vaccine exemptions: shots

The combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine protects children against all three diseases with one shot.

Courtney Perry / The Washington Post / Getty Images

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Courtney Perry / The Washington Post / Getty Images

The combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine protects children against all three diseases with one shot.

Courtney Perry / The Washington Post / Getty Images

All US countries require parents to vaccinate their children against certain preventable diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella, and cough to attend school. Such laws often refer to children in private schools and day care facilities, as well as in public schools.

At the same time, in addition to medical exceptions, most countries also allow parents to waive this vaccination requirement for religious reasons. And seventeen countries allow other exceptions – allowing families to opt out of school vaccination for personal or philosophical reasons.

Michelle Mello, Professor of Law and Health at Stanford University, claims that in many countries there is a very low demand for vaccine requirements. "You can believe that the vaccines are not working or that they are unsafe or simply fly in front of your parents' philosophy," she says.

But the outbreaks of this winter measles across the country are challenging for many exceptions: at least eight countries, including some who have experienced measles outbreaks this year, want to remove massive vaccine exemptions. And some countries will lift the exemption for all vaccines.

Most cases of measles this year have been among children who have not been vaccinated against the virus.

According to disease control and prevention centers, after the beginning of 2019, at least 159 people have been aggravated by measles, after outbreaks in the US, outbreaks range from Washington and Oregon to Texas and New York. Last year there were 372 reports of measles in the country.

Diane Peterson is a good news about the transition of national legislators to boost vaccine requirements, Associate Director of Immunization Projects with Vaccine Defense Group, Immunization Action Coalition.

"The bait is not a common cold," says Peterson. "The children become very, very sick and can be hospitalized," she says, adding that measles can even cause death.

The virus is highly contagious, airborne and easily spread. It can survive in the air for a couple of hours.

"A patient with measles can go to the doctor, cough up in the examination room, and two hours later, another patient coming into the same exam room can become infected," says Peterson.

During this winter, the virus is rapidly spreading because it says "children who have not been vaccinated, mainly because parents have decided to vaccinate them."

Not only does it leave vulnerable school children vulnerable to the virus, but also many adults who have suppressed the immune system and infants who are not old enough to be vaccinated.

According to the National and Territorial Healthcare Associations, billing for exceptions is currently being considered by more and more countries.

None of these are with activists who want their countries to maintain personal and philosophical exemptions.

"No one should sit in the spirit of another person's religious and spiritual beliefs," says Barbara Loe Fisher, National Vaccine Information Center representative, lobbying for compulsory vaccination, and believes parents should be the choice. "No one should be allowed to force someone to violate their conscience when they make a decision about the use of a pharmacological product that poses a risk of harm."

The scientific consensus on any risk posed by vaccines is that serious side effects are extremely rare. Years ago, it was suggested that immunization could have serious consequences, such as autism, after it was found that these links were fraudulent.

Mello, Stanford Professor of Law, who followed the debate on the waiver, notes that the courts have repeatedly held that, where public health protection requires public health protection, individuals can generally be required to renounce personal liberty, especially if this freedom is linked to government benefits such as public schools.

So far, only three countries – Mississippi, West Virginia, and California – prohibit all exemptions from vaccines, including one that relieves families who claim religious beliefs are in conflict with vaccination.

The California state legislature adopted this decision in 2015, less than a year after the country underwent a major outbreak of measles, which gained its first stable place for unvaccinated children who visited Disneyland.

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