The first vaccination was created in 1796 by Edward Jenner. He found that milkmaids didn't get smallpox, a devastating disease at the time. Upon closer inspection, he found that because they spend to much time in contact with cows they contracted cowpox. The milkmaid's bodies could easily fight off cowpox so when they came in contact with smallpox they could easily fight off the disease because their bodies recognized it from fighting off the cowpox.
So Jenner made a vaccine out of the cowpox and that was the first vaccine that helped stop one of the most notorious diseases.
Thanks to Jenner other vaccines for measles, polio, and chicken pox have been created and children can be inoculated from infancy. Many of these diseases have been eradicated thanks to vaccines. It is the most successful and cost-effective public health tool to stop diseases.
Seems easy enough right?
Well, New Jersey has recently past a law that makes it harder for parents to opt out of vaccines. In passing this law they hope to stop the spread of preventable diseases.
The bill was introduced by Representative Herb Conaway who is a physician and it worried about pockets out outbreaks of diseases that could be stopped by vaccines.
Minnesota recorded 65 children contracted measles in 2017 because a single traveler came to the state carrying the disease. That's all it took, one traveler. Sixty-five might not sound like a high number, but that's more than the total of measle outbreaks in the entire United States in 2016.
In 2015 there was an outbreak that started in a Disneyland, the most magical place in the world. But this wasn't because of magic, this could have been avoided with a measles vaccine. When families went back to their home states which resulted in a multi-state breakout.
Measles is a particularly contagious disease and the is given in a combination vaccine with measles, mumps, and rubella. They started vaccinating for it in 1971 and anybody born between 1957 are probably ammune to it because the disease was still prevalent then. However, anyone born between 1957-1971, when vaccines weren't as reliable, might be immune but also might not be. Anyone who falls into that category should check with their doctor to see if they are immune. People who don't vaccinate their children are putting those people at risk to along with their child.
After getting the two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella is only 93% effective against measles. That is to say that if everyone has the vaccination the chances of it spreading are low, but all it would take is one child to not have the vaccine and contract the disease to start an outbreak because measles is so contagious.
And that's what happened in Disneyland in 2015. Employees of Disneyland where infected with measles because while they were vaccinated they came in contact with a child who did not have the vaccine.
As more and more parents opt out of vaccinating their children each year problems like these in theme parks are going to become more and more problematic.
Because of this 2015 Disneyland outbreak, two dozen students were told to stay home from a California high school in January of 2015 because they did not have the vaccine and a student who also did not have the vaccination had measles. This might seem like overkill, but measles is so contagious that simply being in the same room as somebody with measles is enough to contract the disease. These students had to stay home for 21 days, the incubation period for measles.
Because of this outbreak, California state legislature passed a law banning all non-medical vaccine exemptions. The number of outbreaks seen in California has dropped. Science.
In Texas, the anti-vaccination movement has a different rallying cry than the debunked autism theory. They claim they don't want to vaccinate their children based on their personal liberty. But what about when someones personal liberty infringes on somebody else's safety. If a child gets the measles, or another preventable disease, because someone stuck it to the man and didn't vaccinate their children?This might seem dramatic but with a disease as contagious as measles this is a possibility. The claim that has fueled the anti-vaccination movement has been debunked time and time again and still, people claim autism is a real threat when it comes to vaccination.
Doctors and vaccination advocates fear that for Texas to realize how dangerous these diseases there will need to be an outbreak. It would be horrific, but possibly not that unlikely. In Austin, Texas, and the surrounding area, public schools have the highest vaccine exemption rate of anywhere in the state. Private schools in Austin and the suburbs can have up to 40% vaccine exemption rates.
In the 2015-2016 school year, 45,000 children had vaccine exemption forms for nonmedical reasons and give the recent trend that number is only expected to grow in the upcoming years. One can only hope that Texas sees these dangers before there is a confirmed outbreak.
There are plenty of laws protecting children. For instance, in nearly every state a child is required by law to wear a seatbelt. If this law is broken punishments come down on the parents. This makes and reckless endangerment to children is recognized nationally. So why are vaccines any different?
Vaccines help prevent 2 to 3 million deaths a year. Why wouldn't you want your kid to be one of those lives?