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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Measles 2024

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread   Examples include measlesCOVID, flu, and polio.

In IowaNevadaVirginia, and Georgia, Trump has said:  "I will not give one penny to any school that has a vaccine mandate or a mask mandate."

Washington Post editorial:
This year is not yet one-third over, yet measles cases in the United States are on track to be the worst since a massive outbreak in 2019. At the same time, anti-vaccine activists are recklessly sowing doubts and encouraging vaccine hesitancy. Parents who leave their children unvaccinated are risking not only their health but also the well-being of those around them.
Vaccine hesitancy is being encouraged by activists who warn of government coercion, using social media to amplify irresponsible claims. An article published March 20 on the website of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense organization is headlined, “Be Very Afraid? CDC, Big Media Drum Up Fear of ‘Deadly’ Measles Outbreaks.” The author, Alan Cassels, claims that the news media is advancing a “a fear-mongering narrative,” and adds, “Those of us born before 1970 with personal experience pretty much all agree that measles is a big ‘meh.’ We all had it ourselves and so did our brothers, sisters and school friends. We also had chicken pox and mumps and typically got a few days off school. The only side effect of those diseases was that my mom sighed heavily and called work to say she had to stay home to look after a kid with spots.”

Today, he adds, “Big media and government overhyping the nature of an illness, which history has shown us can be a precursor to some very bad public health policies such as mandatory vaccination programs and other coercive measures.”

This is just wrong. The CDC reports that, in the decade before the measles vaccine became available in 1963, the disease killed 400 to 500 people, hospitalized 48,000 and gave 1,000 people encephalitis in the United States every year — and that was just among reported cases. The elimination of measles in the United States in 2000, driven by a safe and effective vaccine, was a major public health success. Although the elimination status still holds, the U.S. situation has deteriorated. The nation has been below 95 percent two-dose coverage for three consecutive years, and 12 states and the District below 90 percent. At the same time, the rest of the world must also strive to boost childhood vaccination rates, which slid backward during the covid-19 pandemic. According to the WHO, low-income countries — with the highest risk of death from measles — continue to have the lowest vaccination rates, only 66 percent.

The battle against measles requires a big — not a meh — effort.