The measles outbreak is sweeping through the country with over 200 individual cases in 11 states since the start of 2019.
Despite the growing threat, many states continue to introduce bills that support the trend of people choosing not to get vaccinated.
According to a report from CNN, the American Academy of Pediatrics has revealed that bills from at least 20 states will make it easier for parents to exempt their children from vaccination, even for non-medical reasons. Doctors will also be required to provide further information on the various risks of vaccines.
While many studies have proven that vaccines are safe — the most recent of which is newly published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine — the anti-vaccination movement lingers through the years. Due to widespread myths, parents remain fearful of their children developing side effects, such as autism and other diseases.
Data from the National Immunization Survey reveals that 1.3 percent of children born in 2015 have not received any vaccinations by the age of 2, up from 0.9 percent of children born in 2011, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“They think they’re doing the right thing,” Dr. Sean O’Leary, a pediatrician from Colorado who studies infectious diseases and vaccines, explains to CNN. “The problem is, they’re basing their beliefs on misinformation and pseudoscience.”
If enacted, bills that expand the valid reasons for opting out of vaccines and oblige doctors to stress the risks make it even easier for these skeptics to avoid getting vaccinated in the future.
Unfortunately, the effects are not limited to those who choose to forego vaccination.
An increase in anti-vaccine activities leads to a decrease in vaccination coverage, which is shown to significantly increase the chances of an outbreak in vaccination-preventable diseases in the United States, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine in 2018.
The World Health Organization calls vaccines the most efficient ways of promoting individual and public health, decreasing the prevalance of many diseases, including measles, mumps, and rubella, among many others.
“I consider it really an irony that you have one of the most contagious viruses known to man juxtaposed against one of the most effective vaccines that we have and yet we don’t do, and have not done, what could be done, namely completely eliminate and eradicate this virus,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says during a congressional hearing last February, according to The Seattle Times.