Due to the worrying number of people that have disregarded vaccination, U.S. children are at high risk of measles and it may result into an epidemic if the situation gets just a little bit worse.
- To fully avoid measles, children must be vaccinated twice with MMR, once between 12-15 months, and then between 4-6 years old of age
- Researchers found that 8.7 million children (12.5%) in the United States are now at risk for measles
- Around 25% of children of 3 years old or below, and 5% of teenagers are vulnerable
- If the efficiency of the vaccination drops even a little, the population may be facing an epidemic
Researchers at the Emory University have stated that between 92-94% of the population is currently vaccinated against measles. That may sound like a promising percentage, but, in fact, it’s not. That is the lower limit that needs to be assured in order to prevent a potential epidemic. The slightest drop in numbers, and the nation might be facing serious problems.
Measles is one of the most infectious diseases that can be prevented through a vaccine. It presents itself with numerous complications in some cases, such as pneumonia, encephalitis, hospitalization, and even death. It’s a tragic fact that the vaccination process is very simple, yet 25% of children get hospitalized due to this very preventable disease.
Normally, it can be stopped through two courses of vaccinations of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella). One is administered between 12-15 months of age, and the next when the child is between 4-6 years old. This double dose makes certain that the condition will not occur. Exceptions only apply to special cases of immunocompromised children or cancer patients, who can either not tolerate MMR or their existing conditions deem it ‘unsafe’.
Many parents forgo the vaccine due to concerns regarding it’s safety. However, Dr.Robert Bednarczyk, who authored the study, has firmly stated that the MMR is “very safe”, while avoiding vaccination is “highly risky”. This places both their children and everyone else’s at risk for the disease.
Researchers found that 12.5% of all children in the United States, which amounts for 8.7 million, are currently vulnerable to measles. This is either due to incomplete vaccination or disregard of the practice entirely. Among them, 24.7%, or 1 in every 4 children, under the age of 3 are at risk because they have not seen full vaccination at their much to younger ages. Furthermore, 4.6% of 17 year olds have never been vaccinated at all, which only increases worries.
According to Dr. Bednarczyk, this means that the population is at high risk of a measles epidemic after 15 years of successfully repelling of the disease’s transmission. If the current efficiency drops to even 98%, the risk will increase from 12.5% to 14.2%.
Their study aims to encourage full vaccination of children against this very contagious yet preventable disease. For now, these children are protected because of the high rate of vaccinations. However, they cannot continue to count on the health awareness of others in order to avoid the infectious illness.