A measles outbreak of unvaccinated children in Ohio continues to spread as experts sound the alarm

Public health under the Republican Party has been terrible. The COVID-19 pandemic only served as a political football for the GOP to kick around in lieu of offering up real leadership. When your entire platform is dismantling government’s ability to provide its citizens support, the only thing you can offer up are fake science legislation allowing discredited treatments like hydroxychloroquine to seem like a salve for a lack of better public health policy.

For years now, various communities with low vaccination rates have seen measles outbreaks. The reasoning these communities have low vaccination rates is because they have been fed a steady diet of terrible medical information from people with fancy names but not fancy brains, like Robert Kennedy Jr., that has told them things like the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine causes autism. It doesn’t. Every single study, done over and over and over again, has shown that the MMR vaccine is safe. The study that anti-vaxxers funded to prove this pretend connection ended up proving, like the rest of the scientific studies done on the subject, that there was not connection between MMR and autism.

You know what countries have serious problems with measles and childhood measles? Yemen. Yemen has the excuse of civil war, unrest, and global sanctions. It’s not a great excuse but it’s better than “Some guy with a good haircut told me vaccines are ouchy.”

Do you know what many of those studies have shown? The kids whose parents decide to skip their child’s MMR vaccine have worse health outcomes and are more prone to various illnesses than their vaccinated counterparts. So it is more than simply protecting our communities from easily immunized diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella.

But you would not know that with Republican officials calling vaccines “sorcery,” and saying childhood illnesses like measles are easily treated with “antibiotics and that kind of stuff.” Meanwhile the COVID-19 pandemic has given Republican leadership, like Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a renewed license to misinform the public about the efficacy and importance of vaccines. This kind of right-wing anti-science propaganda has led to new measles outbreaks in various communities over the past few years. These are outbreaks that many infectious disease specialists thought we were long passed in our country.

Since 2012, Ohio’s school age children’s vaccination rates have dropped. In 2012, children entering the Ohio school system were vaccinated against the measles at a 96.1%. In the 2020-2021 class, that number was 89.6%. The largest decrease has come since 2019. Spokesperson for Columbus Public Health Kelli Newman told ArsTechnica, “MMR vaccines are very safe and highly effective at preventing measles. We offer walk-in MMR vaccines at Columbus Public Health Monday through Friday every week. We have not seen an uptick here on MMR vaccinations yet from what we usually do, but that is not indicative of uptake overall since we do not know what is being given by providers in the community.”

The one thing we know about the anti-vaxxer movement is that this outbreak will attract them the same way desperation always attracts charlatans.


More than the measles: New study finds skipping MMR vaccine also increases risk for other illnesses

Vaccinations have ZERO link to autism, says new decade-long study

While anti-vaxxers target US communities hit by measles outbreaks, historic outbreaks hit the globe

New study: Even among children at higher risk there is NO LINK between MMR vaccine and autism

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