Since the start of the last decade, the reported cases of measles were on the decline. But by July 2008, CDC had reported that there were 131 confirmed cases of measles and since then the cases of measles in the US have been on a continuous rise around the globe.
According to the CDC, cases of measles have been in triple digits 2011, except for the years 2012 and 2016. And there have been 101 reported cases of measles this year so far.
When these cases were studied, it was found that over 80% of the infected patients were unvaccinated. And this might explain why there is an influx of measles in the US.
And researchers have pointed out that Anti-vexers are to blame for this is as these groups have been very prominent in promoting anti-vaccination in every state across America.
Pacific North West is amongst the hardest hit areas in all of America as it has alone had over 50 cases of measles this year.
Therefore to control this outbreak politician from both sides are trying to pass a bill named HB 1638.
So you might be wondering what is this bill HB 1638. But for that, we need to first learn about the rules regarding Vaccine exemption. Currently, most U.S. state schools allow vaccination exemption for the MMR vaccine based on medical reasons or personal, philosophical and religious beliefs. And this has caused many parents to opt out of the MMR vaccine because of which we have seen a spike in the cases of measles.
But under this new bill parents wouldn’t be able to claim vaccine exemptions based on personal and philosophical reasons. And therefore this bill will be a huge help as Pacific North West has the lowest vaccine rates in the U.S. The vaccination rates go as low as 40% in some parts of the Pacific North West and this is very bad for herd immunity. Because herd immunity is what allows children who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons such as AIDS live freely. And herd immunity only works if there is a 90% vaccination rate.
But the introduction of this bill in the house has caused a huge backlash. Because on the day of the hearing, there were around 700 people who were protesting against this bill.
Among the protesters, there was Mr. Robert F Kennedy Jr. who is a prominent vaccine conspiracy theorist. He testified during hearing about the dangers of vaccine and the relation between vaccines and autism. However, Washington State Health Secretary John Wiseman refuted this claim and said “I want to remind you that the MMR vaccine is extremely safe and highly effective. All reputable scientific studies have found no relation between measles and autism.”
He also said “The challenge I think in today’s world is that most people haven’t seen this (effects of measles) and they haven’t seen this is because the vaccines are effective.”
The representatives of this bill have also said that they are going amend the bill on tightening the religious exemptions.
And amidst the rising cases of measles and decreasing vaccination rate, the WHO has listed vaccine hesitancy as top 10 global threat of 2019.
So now what we have to do is wait. As it would be very difficult for the legislatures to pass this bill. But we hope that they are able to do it as this will only help the children to live a measles free life.