Hundreds of people gathered in Olympia, Washington to protest a bill that would require them to vaccinate their children against measles.
In other words, these people demanded their “right” to decide whether to protect their own children from a highly contagious disease. There is currently a measles outbreak in Washington State, with more than 50 cases currently being treated, according to CBS news. State lawmakers proposed a bill that would remove the ability for parents to decide not to vaccinate their children due to philosophical concerns. CBS reports that 32 other states already have such laws.
But in Washington, hundreds actually rallied against the bill, believing the vaccine could cause more damage than the disease itself. Remember, there are anti-vaxxers out there who believe vaccines cause autism, despite massive amounts of research and data disproving such claims.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the vaccine for measles — known as the MMR vaccine because it protects against measles, mumps, and rubella — “about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective.”
“Measles is so contagious that an unvaccinated person has a 90 percent chance of catching the disease if they're near someone who has it. The virus can survive for up to two hours in a room where an infected person sneezed,” CBS reported.
Before the vaccine for measles became available in 1963, according to the CDC, 3 million to 4 million Americans got the disease.
“Of these, approximately 500,000 cases were reported each year to CDC; of these, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 developed encephalitis (brain swelling) from measles,” the CDC stated.
Monique Murray, a mother who doesn’t want to vaccinate her child, doesn’t think she’s doing any harm.
"I don't feel I'm putting my child at risk. There's nothing that's going to change my mind on this on that specific vaccination," Murray told CBS.
Washington is not the only state experiencing a measles outbreak. The New York State Department of Health currently reports an outbreak in parts of the state, “including the lower Hudson Valley and parts of New York City.”
Unvaccinated people traveling to other parts of the world are the most likely to bring the disease back to the U.S.
There is a chance of a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine, but the CDC insists this is extremely rare. There is also a small risk of febrile seizures, though this does not cause any long-term effects. Still, the CDC explains that getting the vaccine is safer than getting any of the diseases it prevents, despite what the protesters in Washington think.
The idea that vaccines cause autism comes from the fact that signs of autism start to show around the same time children get vaccinated. Parents wanting to blame someone assume the vaccine caused the autism, even though autism is not a side effect, but a condition all its own.
CBS reports Washington lawmakers hope to pass the law requiring the measles vaccine by April.