Courier/Aaron Tan
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In response to a 71-person measles outbreak in the state of Washington, state legislature has finally advanced measures that would limit philosophical exemptions to vaccinating school-age children. Unfortunately, it took an event of this magnitude for state legislature to realize the loophole-ridden system they created.

Other states such as Iowa, Arizona and Minnesota are following suit to prevent an event similar to what has happened in Washington state. In some cases, these measures are attempting to revoke religious and other personal exemptions as well. After the 147-person measles outbreak at Disneyland in California, state legislature abandoned such exemptions and vaccination rates went through the roof.

As protesters march for the right to not vaccinate, they seem to resist accepting studies showing that vaccines are not linked to autism. From Pinterest “article” to blogger post, they formulate paradigms to justify their factually inaccurate beliefs.

“In states with broader vaccine laws, nonmedical exemptions have soared in popularity over the years as misinformation about vaccine risks spreads online,” said Dr. John Cullen, President of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “In communities where vaccination rates are low, that’s a set-up for a measles outbreak.”

After another measles outbreak, a disease that was declared extinct in 2000, what will it take for the anti-vaxxers to take their blindfolds off and finally see the truth? A completely preventable virus has now been reborn out of stubbornness and the rejection of logic.

A study was conducted by Dr. Anders Hviid of the Institute of Copenhagen that followed over 537,000 children who were vaccinated and unvaccinated. They found that of the 6,517 children who received a diagnosis of autism, there was no link between higher rates of autism for the vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

The anti-vaccine movement grows through social media, but thankfully the state legislature has the power to mandate vaccinations. While most of America has its head on straight, some legislators such as Texas rep. Bill Zedler are clearly missing some screws.

“They want to say people are dying of measles. Yeah, in third-world countries they’re dying of measles,” Zedler said in a press conference “Today with antibiotics and that kind of stuff, they’re not dying in America.”  

According to Zedler’s logic, it is better to let a disease fester than prevent it from ever happening in the first place. Zedler is somehow a longtime member of the House Public Health Committee – a committee that supposedly strives for disease prevention. In spite of  his experience in the healthcare industry as a medical consultant, the contradictions begin to pile up.

How could someone working in the House Public Health Committee not understand the importance of vaccination to prevent disease from spreading? Ideology akin to Zedler’s proliferates through the House and it should be no surprise that Texas only trails the disease-stricken Washington state in reported cases and outbreaks this year.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has confirmed 11 measles cases in Texas this year. Legislators with these views are fuel to the fire that has been spreading across America.

It only takes a single ember to have a case similar to California in 2015. With most of the 17 states that allow religious, personal and/or philosophical exemptions to vaccination racing to pass measures to avoid outbreaks, Texas has been awfully quiet.

While most states rally to put these views into law, the opposition stands ready to refute and deny their “liberties” be taken away from them. If the government has to tighten vaccine restrictions to keep the general population safe, they should do so, as it is in the best interest of everyone.

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