In 2016, one-in-10 children in communities all over the world weren’t given vaccines. A resurgence in anti-vaxxer sentiment – sometimes with the tacit support of certain government officials – in certain countries, along with a lack of resources and immunization coverage in others, has led to unnecessary headlines.
The World Health Organization (WHO) this week noted that Europe has seen a huge uptick in measles cases, something the MMR vaccine’s use should be stamping out. After a record low in 2016, 2017 has seen a four-fold increase, which the WHO, per BBC News, has referred to as a “tragedy”.
Largely in response to anti-vaxxer movements and unfounded vaccine distrust, governments around the world are introducing or expanding various forms of mandatory vaccination, from Australia to France to Italy. The focus is generally on school-aged children, and with that in mind, Oregon is no exception.
As aforementioned, the Beaver State isn’t quite alone in this sense: all 50 US states have legislation that requires a range of vaccines to be given to students, with details on exemptions varying from state to state. As of 2017, 18 states allow “philosophical exemptions” for those who wish not to vaccinate their children.
According to the WHO, immunization programs around the world prevent up to 3 million premature deaths every single year. Millions of children still require vaccinations, however, and most of them are in countries with “fragile humanitarian settings”.
Simply having access to vaccines in such communities is a significant problem, but not in wealthy nations, where rejection is often a personal choice, not one borne out of access. Those seeking philosophical exemptions, then, clearly lack a grasp of how fortunate their circumstances are.