Faith Can Not Be An Excuse For Skipping Vaccines

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The anti-vaccination movement is a social movement which promotes the idea that vaccinations are bad and that parents should opt out of vaccinating their children. This idea is fueled by misinformation and is very dangerous because it can lead to outbreaks of measles in places such as Washington state. In order to prevent the measles outbreak or other dangerous outcomes, lawmakers in Washington and Oregon are making efforts in order to remove personal or philosophical exemptions to vaccination rules for school-age children.

Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, is supporting those lawmakers’ efforts. He and his colleagues reported last year that more and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children, which is very dangerous. “We need a more robust system of pro-vaccine advocacy in this country,” he said, according to Religion News Service. Hotez also wants major internet companies such as Google and Facebook to regulate sites with false information about vaccines.

Currently, eighteen states allow philosophical-belief exemptions from vaccines and Washington is one of them, the state where there are sixty-six confirmed measles cases. Because of this and because of other risks that anti-vaccination policy bears, there are three separate efforts in Washington and Oregon to ban or restrict nonmedical vaccine exemptions. House Bill 1638 in Washington would ban philosophical exemptions specifically for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Another Washington’s bill in the Senate would ban personal or philosophical exemptions for all school-required vaccines. And in Oregon a bill which would get rid of all nonmedical exemptions — including religious ones — is being drafted.

But those measures have been met by many protests from those who believe that vaccines have many dangerous side effects. “No city government or federal government can tell me what medical procedures are necessary for my children. That’s my choice. God made me their mother and I will not vaccinate (for MMR) even if it means my children cannot go to public schools,” Devoney Audet, a mother of three children, said as Religion News Service reports. She believes that measles can be easily treated and is not very dangerous. Also Texas state Rep. Bill Zedler, an anti-vaxxer, believes measles can be treated with antibiotics.

Actually there is no known treatment for measles, a highly contagious virus that once sickened millions of patients each year in the United States. Instead, health-care professionals try to prevent the disease by administering the MMR vaccine to children. And for certain people who have been exposed, such as pregnant women, may be given a protein injection called immune serum globulin to try to thwart it or to lessen the symptoms. Antibiotics, which are used to treat bacterial infections, cannot kill viruses.

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