Parents who refuse vaccines put other people’s children in harm’s way

For quite some time, I’d warned parents that not vaccinating their children is not only potentially harmful (or fatal) to their children, but also the children in your neighborhood or your children’s school.

Now, an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times backs up my contention. Pamela Nguyen, of UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital, points out that, according to CDC data, “there were 197,000 measles deaths worldwide” in 2007. And, virtually all of the cases were in unvaccinated children.

The following year, Dr. Nguyen writes, “a seven-year-old unvaccinated child who was exposed to the virus while abroad” and ignited an outbreak in San Diego among mostly unvaccinated children.

Still, she writes, “many parents continue not to vaccinate their children.”

Some believe certain “vaccine-preventable diseases” are “no longer a threat,” while “parents in the San Diego outbreak … were afraid of autism.”

This is “creating large reservoirs of susceptibility, primarily in private and charter schools that are generally free from state restrictions.”

In other words, “by choosing not to vaccinate, parents put not only their own children, but also other peoples’ ‘children in harm’s way.'”

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