Arizona Views: Fight against disease, simple with vaccine

May 5, 2019

Measles is an airborne disease that transmits easily through the coughs and sneezes of infected people, and it is spreading across the country.

News of the outbreak is prevalent, with 700 cases confirmed in 22 states — including Arizona. More than 500 of those cases were people who had not been vaccinated, and 66 people have been hospitalized.

For Arizona, only one case has been confirmed so far — in Pima County; however, Arizona allows for exemptions to vaccinations based on religious, philosophical or personal beliefs, the county reported this week. The fact that our state allows for exemptions, outbreaks of measles — or other diseases — are not only possible, they are a risk. The county adds that some states are moving to eliminate non-medical exemptions through state legislative action on the subject, which we support.

This year’s outbreak is the largest since the disease was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000. “Elimination” meant the measles virus was no longer circulating in the U.S. Each year since 2000, a few cases arrived from overseas, either from immigrants or returning tourists.

The good news was each outbreak was snuffed out.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said more than 94% of parents vaccinate their children against measles and other diseases, and they are working to reach the small percentage of individuals who avoid vaccines.

Vaccines are one of the most effective tools available for the prevention of childhood diseases, they are safe and do not cause autism, the county stated in a news release.

To help keep your child(ren) safe, it is important that you and your children who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This protects not only your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to friends and loved ones.

Immunizations can save your family time and money.

Imagine a baby who becomes infected with a disease such as this. Like 92 other children infected with measles in the United States this year, according to a CNN report, a child can be too young to be vaccinated against the highly contagious, vaccine-preventable virus. And, like all babies, they rely on the rest of society to vaccinate.

Let’s not fail our community’s children. This goes beyond personal beliefs.

— Prescott Daily Courier