An upsurge in measles outbreaks has sparked a huge controversy that has parents on both sides of the debate seeing red. Vaccinations have long been accepted as a healthy way to prevent children from being infected with contagious diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, and different strains of pox. With recent studies and anecdotal evidence showing possible correlations between vaccines and rising numbers of children affected with autism and other developmental disorders, many parents are now choosing not to vaccinate children.
What is the Requirement?
Every state requires children to be vaccinated before entering school. However, even children that do attend school can be exempted from the vaccination requirement based on religious or medical reasons in some states. Other states allow children to forego vaccinations based on moral, personal, or other beliefs of the parents. Children that are homeschooled may also be allowed to abstain from receiving the vaccinations.
Do Be Vaccinated or Not To Be?
The controversy is hot over whether vaccines should be mandatory or not. Some parents believe that vaccinations have not been tested enough to understand the long-term and short-term effects in all children. Other parents believe that vaccinations are tried and true based on the low number of outbreaks up until anti-vaccination movements began. Both sides are vehement on the subject, which has made the issue very difficult to resolve.
How Bad is the Measles Outbreak?
Unfortunately, while the debate rages on, measles outbreaks are rising steadily. In 2014, the United States experienced 23 measles outbreaks, including one outbreak with about 383 cases. The number of measles cases in 2014 was about triple the number of cases reported for any of the thirteen years prior. So far in 2015, the number of measles cases is already higher than most of the years previous to 2014 since 2001. Most people that are affected by the disease have never received a measles vaccination.