With the recent outbreak of measles, more and more parents are making the choice to vaccinate their children. But there are still those that choose to leave their kids unprotected from these easily preventable diseases.

A lot of concern about the safety of vaccines has stemmed from the belief that they can cause autism in children, but it has been proven time and time again that there is no link connecting autism and vaccines.

The American Academy of Pediatric (AAP) has stated, “the cause or causes of autism are not known.” Numerous studies have be conducted and resulted in absolutely no connection between autism and vaccines, so why are parents still choosing not to vaccinate their children?

Many vaccine-preventable diseases can have dangerous consequences, including seizures, brain damage, blindness, and even death. By not vaccinating, parents are putting their children at risk simply because they don’t want them to get autism. Although it is understandable that a parent would not want their child to live with autism, it is not the worst thing that could happen.

“This is one of the most infectious diseases in the world; if vaccinations were stopped, each year about 2.7 million deaths from measles worldwide could be expected,” the American Academy of Pediatrics said of measles. “Serious events occur more often from the actual infection or disease, rather than from the vaccine; therefore, the vaccine is much safer.”

Measles vaccines have been available in the United States since 1963, and two doses have been recommended since 1989. The disease was eliminated in the United States in 2000, but due to the recent anti-vaccine movements, it’s come roaring back.

Measles can be prevented with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. In the United States, widespread use of measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99% reduction in measles cases compared with the pre-vaccine era. From 2000 to 2013, a range of 37 to 220 measles cases per year were reported in the United States, and most of these originated outside the country.

Measles cases in the U.S. reached 610 from Jan. 1, 2014, through Nov. 29, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s the highest count since 2000, and it’s unmistakably linked to anti-vaccination sentiment; most of the cases were in unvaccinated individuals, the CDC says.

According to state law, entering kindergartners are required to be vaccinated against measles, whooping cough, polio, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, chicken pox, diphtheria and tetanus. But the law is relatively lenient allowing parents to obtain exemptions based on personal beliefs.

These parents who choose not to vaccinate their children may think they are doing what’s best for their children, but in denying them vaccinations, they are choosing to expose their children to harmful and even deadly diseases that are easily preventable.

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