Once more, for the people in the back who either couldn’t hear us or think they know better:
Herd immunity is when a high enough percentage of a community’s population has been immunized against a certain disease. When herd immunity is achieved — in the case of measles, it’s 90 to 95 percent of a population — a disease cannot spread easily through the community, and protects those who cannot be vaccinated, such as newborn babies and people with vaccine allergies or compromised immune systems.
In Clark County, Wash., which is just outside Portland, Ore. — and where enough people evidently believe something they read on the internet, or their non-physician friend, more than they believe an actual physician — they’ve lost herd immunity on the measles vaccine.
Guess what they have in Clark County?
That’s right, a measles epidemic.
As of Feb. 7, there were 50 cases of measles in Clark County, Vox.com reported. Most all of them involved children between 1 and 10 years old who had not been vaccinated.
In the U.S., before a vaccine was introduced in 1963, there were 4 million measles cases with 48,000 hospitalizations and 500 deaths in the U.S. every year. Measles also was a leading killer of children globally.
Measles, as we’ve written before in this space, was declared eradicated in the United States in 2000 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s how successful and widespread vaccination against measles had been.
But, thanks to anti-vaccination ignorance and stupidity, America has actually gone backward.
Measles is so contagious that an unvaccinated person has a 90 percent chance of catching the disease if they’re near someone who has it, CBS.com reported. The virus can survive for up to two hours in a room where an infected person sneezed.
Despite the outbreak in Washington state, on Feb. 8 hundreds rallied in Olympia, the state’s capital … in opposition to a proposed bill that would ban the measles vaccine exemption for philosophical reasons.
That’s right, they were protesting to preserve the right to not immunize.
The Washington Post reported Feb. 11 on teenagers whose parents are anti-vaccination, but the teens themselves want to be vaccinated against preventable diseases. They’re going on social-media websites to find out how they can get immunized.
“Because of their beliefs I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, God knows how I’m still alive,” said Ethan Lindenberger, an 18-year-old from Norwalk, Ohio. He followed the advice of someone who identified as a nurse and got himself immunized at an Ohio Department of Health office.
“This generation of unvaccinated children coming of age has looked at the science and want to protect themselves,” said Allison Winnike, president and chief executive of the Immunization Partnership, a Texas-based nonprofit vaccine advocacy group, told the Post.
In most cases, we feel, you are free to ignore the advice of physicians when it comes to your health. It’s stupid, and could reduce your quality of life or end your life entirely, but you are free to do that.
We draw the line at ignoring vaccination advice, however. Your conclusion that you know better than your doctor when it comes to immunizations affects the health of those around you.
It affects the health of babies not old enough to be vaccinated. It affects the health of those whose immune systems won’t allow them to be vaccinated.
So for the sake of your community, please get yourself and your children immunized.