Measles return

Negligent parents who refuse to vaccinate their children have created a health risk for the public.

Emily Wong, A&E Editor

In 1963, scientists and public health officials celebrated the release of the measles vaccine and the accompanying hope that the deadly airborne disease that had afflicted three to four million people each year would be gone for good. And for a while, it did seem that way, with officials announcing the eradication of measles 15 years ago. Little did they know, the highly contagious virus would materialize once again, instigating an impending—and commendable—California law to mandate the vaccination for everyone.

For a while, many parents opted out of the vaccination due to the published works of Dr. Andrew Wakefield linking the vaccine to autism (a belief I like to call Jenny McCarthyism). He was later found to have falsified his data and his medical license was revoked. Still, the rise in anti-vaccination parents (and simultaneously, the progressive loss of common sense) has led to a recent outbreak of the deadly virus, originating in Disneyland. Measles is no joke; it can kill you and others around you.

Refusing to vaccinate your child is a selfish act that infringes not only on your children’s own health but also on the health of those around them. Like all vaccines, the measles vaccine is not 100% effective, as shown by the few vaccinated Disneyland measles victims. However, since its release, the measles vaccine has dropped the number of measles cases in the U.S. to near extinction, thus proving it to be a very effective form of immunization. In addition, booster vaccines are available. Even in the off chance that you do contract measles, vaccination will still diminish your symptoms significantly. In addition, the spread of infection is interrupted, even for susceptible individuals, when a large number of a population is vaccinated, a concept called herd immunity. A required measles vaccination would ensure this occurs.

Some argue that forcing parents to vaccinate their children is a stepping stone to a totalitarian government. Yet, this belief is merely an extension of paranoia. When there is a serious health threat to the population, the government should take the necessary precautions to extinguish that threat. Mandating the measles vaccination is no different than mandating the whooping cough vaccine, which has been required for California students since 2010. Both protect the health of students and faculty and do not open the floodgates to microchip injections and other governmental overstepping. Arguing otherwise is a ludicrous slippery slope fallacy that deviates from the matter at hand.

I am usually not one to approve of the government’s attempts to encroach on citizens’ rights to make their own decisions. However, the possibility that the health of my future child and society is jeopardized by the idiot who refused to immunize their child calls for a mandated action that will protect everyone. The fact that I have to argue for what looks like a win-win situation is absurd. In this case, it truly is better to be safe than sorry.