Vaccinations would not be necessary in an ideal world.  Unfortunately, this is a world where there are many contagious diseases.  The good news is that vaccines prevent many contagious diseases such as measles, which is 100 percent preventable with the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.  Children are the most vulnerable victims of contagious diseases, and that’s why it is very important that all youngsters get their vaccinations.

When children are not vaccinated, epidemics can occur.  As of June 17, 2019, there have been 596 confirmed cases of measles in New York City since September, and most of those cases occurred in children.  Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency because of numerous measles cases in Brooklyn and Rockland.  These are areas with a large Orthodox Jewish population.  Due to religious exemptions and fallacies about vaccines, many members from the Orthodox Jewish community decided not to vaccinate their children.

The measles outbreak was caused by a child who caught the measles while on vacation to Israel. Due to the severity of measles cases, the government ended all exemptions for vaccinations.  Now all children in New York must be vaccinated.  Governor M. Cuomo, who called the measles epidemic a health emergency, signed the bill turning it into law.  New York now joins other states such as California, Arizona, West Virginia, Mississippi and Maine that do not allow exemptions for vaccinations.

Vaccinating children is the only way to prevent them from getting contagious diseases such as the measles.  Many parents do not like to vaccinate their children, but is necessary to keep them from catching infectious diseases.  Even a disease, such as measles, can kill a child if complications occur.  Complications from measles include diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia, and encephalitis among others.  Most measles deaths occur in children who are less than five years old.

All it takes to prevent measles is the MMR vaccine, which also prevents mumps and rubella.  The child is given the MMR vaccine when they are 12 months old. The second dose of the MMR vaccine is given to children aged 4 to 6 years old.  According to many studies, the MMR vaccine is safe, and severe reactions from the vaccine are uncommon.

New York’s law banning exemptions from vaccinations will certainly prevent future measles outbreaks.  The government certainly acted responsibly in putting the welfare of children before politics.  Now the youngsters are safe, but many of their parents need help.  Some parents still believe that vaccinations can cause autism or ASD, even though numerous studies concluded that there is no link to these diseases from vaccinations.  Rather than punishing them with a fine, they need parenting classes and counseling to teach them about the dangers of contagious diseases and how vaccinations protect children from contracting these diseases.  It will not be easy to dispel the myths that have been embedded into the minds of these parents regarding vaccines, but the first step is an education.