Northwest Missourian Opinion

The war against vaccines is not a battle anybody should need to address. It’s 2019, and having measles outbreaks plastered across multiple headlines is unbelievable with the amount of technology we have.

The U.S. hasn’t seen measles outbreaks this alarming since 2014, which holds the most cases seen within a year at 667. In 2018, cases began occurring more frequently.

This year has presented the second-highest level of measles cases, totaling 387, since the measles elimination in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s only been three months in the year and the numbers have already accumulated more cases than 2018, which held the previous record for the second-highest amount at 372.

If this alarming rate continues, we may see a much higher number than what we saw in 2014.

Going to the heart of the problem is easy, and the quick fix is simple. Some parents may even wonder why they didn’t do it in the first place.

Everybody needs to get vaccinated against measles and other easily preventable diseases like chickenpox. This includes both children and adults, as more than 110,000 people died as a result of measles worldwide in 2017, most of whom were children, according to the World Health Organization.

Measles are an issue many countries on all continents deal with making vaccinations necessary especially for those looking to travel. Most cases brought in this year came from travelers and spread throughout a community where groups of people were unvaccinated.

Getting vaccinated is the only sure way to prevent diseases like this from being spread throughout the states.

Specific states reporting measles this year include Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Colorado, New York, Washington, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon and Texas.

While there haven’t been any outbreaks — which is defined as more than three cases in a local area — in Missouri yet, last year the Kansas City area had a measles outbreak in March and April, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. This outbreak led to 35 infected people.

With Kansas City being a metropolitan area with more than 2.1 million people, another outbreak could easily occur, especially if people aren’t taking proper preventive measures.

The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine protects against those three diseases, according to the CDC. Two doses of MMR is about 97% effective at preventing measles and one dose is about 93% effective. Typically children should get two doses and the shot will last for the rest of their life according to the CDC.

Even if someone doesn’t have the money or insurance to get vaccines, there are ways people can get it with little to no cost through programs like Vaccines for Children. They can also utilize local health centers and state health departments who offer sliding fees based on income, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

There are obvious benefits to getting vaccinated. Regardless of religious or even personal reasons, when it comes to the health and protection of children and others, there should be certain requirements.

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