The United States has been facing six ongoing measles outbreaks. Clark County, in particular, has a lot of attention where the outbreak began, with 70 confirmed cases so far.
The county has become a perfect example of how measles can spread when parents do not vaccinate their children. However, the rapid spread of measles has not been enough to change people’s minds about vaccination.
In a recent interview, Washington State Senator, Lynda Wilson, told VICE News that she thinks the measles vaccine is causing more harm than the disease itself.
Wilson stated, “People that got the measles, there have been very few deaths. There have been more reactions to the measles vaccine.”
Her statement has been debunked by multiple peer-reviewed studies, which also include a massive study published this week.
She did not reach out to any researchers or physicians to assert her opinion on the matter. Instead, she said, “I’m kind of busy up here, and so I’m just dealing with what I’m getting from my constituents.”
Measles is a deadly disease and can lead to serious medical complications, even death, which is why doctors recommend vaccination. However, Clark County has a very unusual low vaccination rate.
As of December 2018, only 81 percent of Clark County school children between 1 and 5 had received a single dose of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine, while the national average is 91 percent.
Wilson’s opinion on vaccination could have a great impact on upcoming legislation. She has already said she will plan to keep the non-medical exemption.
Sen. Wilson, who vaccinated her own kids when they were young, told she thinks parents should not be required to do so with their own children, at least non-American parents.
She said, “The cases are coming from out of the country. So, you know, maybe what we should do is start thinking about requiring vaccinations if you’re coming into our country. Maybe they should be vaccinated instead of requiring all of our people to be vaccinated.”
The CDC opines that the current outbreaks are related to travelers. There is little evidence to recommend that vaccinating travelers to the U.S. would be effective because the MMR vaccine is said to be 93% effective after the first dose and 97% effective after the second dose. So, people who take only the first dose can still catch measles. Therefore, medical professionals encourage people to get vaccinated.
A Clark County public health official said, “Measles continues to exist in other countries and within the United States. As long as measles is present elsewhere, it’s only a plane, car, train or boat ride away from our community and will continue to be a risk for our community or any community with large unvaccinated populations.”
The Washington senator said the current measles outbreak is under control. Also, she suggested people who were infected will be benefited from their experience. She added, “We didn’t have any deaths, and we didn’t have any hospital stays. So I don’t know that it’s unacceptable. I mean, now these people have full immunity for the rest of their lives.”