Do parents who reject the MMR Vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) conceivably realize that they are in part, expansively contributing to a measles epidemic? According to the World Health Organization (WHO) shunning the controversial vaccine for the highly-infectious disease is substantially to blame for the increase in the number of measles cases worldwide in 2017 and consequently, an estimated 110,000 deaths - most of these fatalities were children.
According to Martin Friede, acting director of WHO’s immunization, vaccines and biologicals division, "What is more worrying than this increase...is that we are seeing sustained measles transmission in countries that had not previously seen measles transmission for many years." This suggests that in essence we as a society, are regressing, and furthermore, the epidemic is a precursor for other potential outbreaks such as diphtheria in under-vaccinated populations.
On a global level, vaccine coverage for the first dose of measles stonewalled at 85% while 95% is required to impede an onset of measles - a second dose coverage relies on 67%. Although quite plausible to devise that children from disadvantaged communities neglect to receive the vaccine, mistrust in immunization is in large, a compelling reason parents use to justify their choice to evade immunization. Are these parents making their children a public health risk? Is the resolution sound or negligent?
The belief that there is a link between the MMR vaccine and autism initially foisted upon the world by a British doctor (who eventually lost his medical license) has altered the way society perceives the integrity of the vaccine.
Despite U.S public health officials and physicians combatting misconceptions about the safety of vaccines, success is mixed; even without evidence to support the notion that MMR along with other vaccines causes chronic illnesses (including autism), children are needlessly contracting the vaccine-preventable disease.
When parents choose not to immunize, they expose their children to extreme risk and additionally, put others at risk as well - contributing to a collective dager. Measles and other once-deadly childhood diseases had become vanishingly rare and when these diseases run brazen, even those who have been vaccinated aren't entirely safe. Vaccines succeed in large part because they make diseases so rare, not because everyone who gets one becomes completely immune.
The MMR vaccine is never risk-free, although the side effects documented are either minor or extremely rare. With that being said, when you weigh the real and hypothetical risks of the MMR vaccine against the known risks posed by actual measles -- ear infections, pneumonia, convulsions, brain inflammation, brain damage, death -- they don't amount to much. According to WHO's Ann Lindstrand, "We're losing ground on measles sometimes because people forget that this is a horrifying disease."
Of course, parents should speak with their doctors and make their own judgments while also accounting for the facts when it comes to vaccinating a child. Consult a healthcare professional for more information and to determine an appropriate plan for you.