Disney Land: The Measles Strikes Back

With a return of the measles in Disneyland, where does Saddleback’s student body align on vaccinations?

Image by Alexandru Strujac

In the modern era, science has provided a solution for many of the problems that has plagued humanity since the beginning. From expanding knowledge and information for the average individual, creating easy access to goods, and even creating medicine to combat illness. The opportunities given to people through science is fantastic.

It’s hard to imagine a world without many of the medical advances we have today. The history lessons on the Spanish Flu or Black Death don’t really have the impact for most, with the astronomical numbers and lack of modern medicine being a large part of that.

For myself, I think smaller and more personal notations have a larger weight than numbers on a page. When something bad strikes close to home that it really begs the big questions, and where people’s thoughts actually lie.

Back in 2015, a measles outbreak in Disneyland sparked headlines. It was something that shocked everyone since measles and other preventable diseases were like a bad memory from a period where parents didn’t expect all their kids to live into adulthood.

Now again in 2019, a measles situation strikes the “happiest place on Earth.” According to the Guardian, a teenage girl from New Zealand sick with measles has brought another round of the disease to Orange County.

With these outbreaks occurring, many are left scratching their heads. Why did such an illness return from a bygone age?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website reports that the MMR vaccine that targets measles has a 93% success rate with one dose, raises to 97% with two doses.

Some individuals do follow in this small grey range, but this tends not to be a problem due to herd immunization. According to an interview with Dr. Manish Sadaranganit in Oxford Vaccine Group’s article Herd Immunity: How does it work, herd immunity for measles requires a population to have 90% to 95%. Globally, those given the dual vaccination for measles is 69% according to the World Health Organization.

If you’ve browsed enough of the internet or have a Reddit account, you do know that there are communities that support anti-vax. This is not anything that is new, some people have been against vaccinations since the 1700s according to the Measles & Rubella Initiative. However, an article in 1998 by a British doctor made a claim that the MMR vaccination could cause autism has played a major role in the modern anti-vax movement.

The Lariat itself is a newspaper for college, so it was only fitting that I would conduct a poll on the student body on the subject of vaccinations. See where everyone fell on this topic.

Of the twenty-four students I asked, 18 were pro-vax while 6 were anti-vax. A 3 to 1 ratio that surprised me. Personally, I thought the number of anti-vax supports would be smaller, but evidence is stronger than assumptions.

People on the side of pro-vax had a lot more enthusiasm toward the opposite group, responding with typical playground insults and the “how stupid do you have to be not to vaccinate?” The anti-vax, on the other hand, had some more respect toward pro-vaxxers, unless it challenged them directly. These responses actually left me surprised, I thought that anti-vaxxer would be more emotional than pro-vaxxers.

My personal beliefs on the subject are my own, but I support pro-vax. I do believe that vaccinations are necessary for the world. The advantages presented by them outweigh any risk presented by anti-vaxxers, saving more lives than those lost through vaccinations.

Without vaccinations, my brothers or myself could be one of the countless lives that have been lost to preventable diseases. It wouldn’t just be me though, it would affect everyone across the globe in a similar fashion. Death might be an inevitable fate for all of us, but it would be better to live another day than one less day in this world.