After the beginning documentation of measles, it took about three hundred years to create a vaccine that could fight it. In 1657, measles was first documented in Boston and by the 1960s, up to four million people were infected in the U.S. each year. Luckily, since the first of measles vaccines and with the help of new medical requirements, the combat moved quickly and America was able to eradicate the disease by 2000. This widespread vaccination was key to removing the threat of becoming infected with measles. But what happens when there is a published study claiming that the vaccinations that have been required, the vaccinations that are responsible for the eradication of the measles, are also linked to autism? An anti-vaxx movement grew after the publication of Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s study of the MMR vaccine spread over social media. Now, as the herd immunity that once protected the population is declining, measles could become endemic in America once again.
In the first four months of 2019, there were 764 cases of measles across 23 states. That’s more cases than any year since 1994. The hesitation towards vaccinations has created a public health threat with the World Health Organization warning that such reluctance has already contributed to the resurgence of measles worldwide. Such warning have led places with outbreaks to respond. New York City ordered all residents, with exceptions, to receive the vaccination or pay a $1,000 fine. The officials of New York also went as far as banning unvaccinated children from public spaces, but was soon overturned. Other places such as Rockland County have begun offering free MMR vaccines to all residents. The anti-vaxx movement has also grown to call for corporate responsibility, specifically from companies that have the ability to provide scientifically valid information rather medically inaccurate information about vaccines.
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