Religious exemptions to vaccinations are a contradiction in terms and should be eliminated, Dr. Paul A. Offit opines in his op-ed in The New York Times, “What Would Jesus Do About Measles?”
Measles is back in the United States because of a lack of herd immunity that has three sources: Nineteen states have philosophical exemptions to vaccination, 47 states have religious exemptions, and parents are not afraid of measles, according to Dr. Offit.
But Dr. Offit, a pediatrician who is chief of the division of infectious diseases and the director of the vaccine education center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said he is afraid of measles because he has seen what an outbreak can do. In the Philadelphia outbreak between October 1990 and June 1991, more than 1,400 people were infected with measles, and 9 children died. The outbreak centered around two fundamentalist Christian churches, the members of which did not vaccinate their children and did not take them to the hospital when they were infected. One-third of those who were infected during the outbreak belonged to one of the two churches and six of the nine children who died were members of the congregations, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.To read the entire article go to: The New York Times Feb. 10, 2015