Fischer: New law sparked by measles


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A couple weeks ago, California enforced a strict new law that requires every child enrolled in California public and private schools be vaccinated. The governor signed it June 30; however, the controversy continues.

Prior to the measles outbreak at Disneyland late last year, Gov. Jerry Brown published a statement intending to strike down personal- and religious-belief exemptions for immunizations.

Standing as a proverbial poster boy for the new bill, SB 277, is 7-year-old cancer patient Rhett Krawitt. Unable to receive vaccination because he was undergoing chemotherapy, his parents grew concerned that those gone untreated at his school would eventually put him at a higher health risk.

Still, organizations such as Voice for Choice intend on challenging the new law in court. The program has gone so far as to spend $350,000 in the fight for freedom of personal choice — and leader Christina Hildebrand doesn’t intend to stop there. In a recent interview with CBS correspondent John Blackstone, she said, “The government should not have that overreach … because it is a medical treatment that comes with a risk.”

However, the diseases are to blame, not the vaccines. With this law in place, communities will be better able to regulate infections and prevent them from returning. 

During an interview with CBS, Nat Litman, a pediatric-infectious-diseases professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said Americans have “slowly become victims of our success.”

As old diseases gradually disappear with the help of modern medicine, we begin to forget the severity of past infections. This out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality has led to the rising belief that vaccinations should be optional.

When one goes unvaccinated, unfortunately, the rest of us are put at risk. Despite five decades of immunization efforts, the measles were reintroduced into our community. Having been a common illness among earlier generations, studies have reported that “one or two out of every 1,000 children who contracts measles die from complications related to the virus.”

Following the rise of vaccinations in the early 1980s, the Pediatrics journal wrote “measles and its attendant complications of encephalitis and death [had] declined more than 99 percent from the pre-vaccine era.” Still, just because a disease is no longer prevalent doesn’t mean it has been eradicated.

With California joining such states as Mississippi and West Virginia with a strict vaccination law, surrounding states will, hopefully, jump on the bandwagon. Fictitious information and unproven theories continue to create doubt. However, with the law put into effect in the coming year, parents won’t have much of a choice.

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