Many anti-vaxxers believe injections could cause their children harm; but as a result of their actions, measles are at an all-time high in the US.
Although there is a severe lack of evidence to suggest vaccinations could cause autism or other issues, compared with a whole host of evidence proving that not being vaccinated can result in getting measles, anti-vaxxers are still standing their ground.
This week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed that 695 cases of measles have been reported in 22 states since 2019 began – that’s more cases than in any year since the disease was considered eradicated in 2000.
Previously, the highest number of reported cases since elimination was 667, in 2014. Just four months in to the year, the record has already been broken.
The CDC’s press release explains the high number of cases is primarily down to a few large outbreaks; one in Washington State and two large outbreaks in New York, which started towards the end of last year.
The outbreaks in New York are reportedly among the largest and longest lasting since 2000, and the longer the outbreaks go on for, the greater chance there is that measles will get a real foothold in the US.
According to Buzzfeed News, local officials in New York have said most of the cases are young children who have not been vaccinated.
Two recent cases in the state are pregnant women, who are now at risk of miscarriage.
The CDC believes a significant factor contributing to the outbreaks in New York is the delivery of incorrect information regarding the safety of the vaccine. They are encouraging parents to speak to their healthcare provider about the importance of the vaccine, and pushing local leaders to provide accurate, scientific-based information.
Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that there has been a 300 per cent increase in the number of measles cases reported worldwide, compared with the first three months of 2018.
The WHO explains that spikes in case numbers have occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, such as the US, as the disease spreads quickly among clusters of unvaccinated people.
According to CNN, the US Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, released a statement in response to the record-breaking numbers recorded on Wednesday.
He reportedly acknowledged the significance of the number of cases, adding:
The United States is seeing a resurgence of measles, a disease that had once been effectively eliminated from our country.
The staggering amount of people suffering with measles should be enough to encourage parents to vaccinate their children.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.