Growing divisions regarding medical vaccinations have helped result in numerous outbreaks in California. This has reignited debates and calls for stricter regulations regarding vaccines. (Photograph courtesy of TOrange.us
The recent resurgence of measles in America, once considered wiped out, has catapulted the debate between people distrustful of mandatory vaccinations and those who advocate for them into the mainstream again. This follows a massive outbreak at Disneyland in Southern California, which brought back fears of a sickness that was once considered gone, thanks to vaccines.
It’s very easy to point fingers at those distrustful of vaccinations for being responsible for the spread of communicable diseases and viruses. No doubt the Southern California outbreak was caused in large part by a refusal of people to get themselves and, where applicable, their children. In choosing not to get vaccinated, they’ve put the health of others at risk.
But to say that those who are against vaccinations are solely to blame is wrong. Though not causing the outbreaks themselves, pro-vaccination supporters have failed to disseminate the accurate information about the benefits of vaccinations.
Anti-vaccination supporters can often be influenced by incorrect information. However, there has been little done to stop the spread of this inaccurate information. There is a lack of assertive campaigns designed to counteract those sources and their supporters. Organized movements wielding the weapons of genuine science and accredited fact are shamefully small.
Additionally, a number of smaller outbreaks that served as major warnings of what was to come were unheeded. In an August 2013 a measles outbreak began in Texas due to skepticism of vaccines, according to a report by USA Today. Rather than taking note of such outbreaks and taking precautions, vaccination supporters both in and outside of Texas failed to take necessary steps to get the word out and prevent future outbreaks.
Even the government, usually full of firm supporters of vaccination, has been woefully negligent in preventative measures. California is one of 48 states allowing exemption from vaccinations due to religious and philosophical beliefs, according to the National Vaccine Information Center. Only Mississippi and West Virginia require people who, no matter their personal beliefs, must get a vaccine shot if they are medically fit for them.
Sicknesses like the measles hide a bigger problem: ignorance. It has to be fought against now and with haste. By not vaccinating and actively promoting vaccinations to non-supporters, we are leaving the door open for potentially bigger outbreaks than the one that started at Disneyland.
It is necessary for people to better immunize themselves and others against the harmful diseases that can spread and the ignorance about vaccines that may spread even further.