Now that the obvious has been stated, that the current measles outbreak was preventable, it is time to take action to prevent future outbreaks. The current state law that permits parents to opt out of vaccinating their children against serious infectious diseases for philosophical reasons — basically, whether they feel like it or not — is asinine.
Today’s parents, and maybe even some of their parents, have no memory of the periodic epidemics that would sweep through communities, states, or even nations, before vaccines for deadly diseases such as measles were invented. I was the victim of such an epidemic, nearly dying of pneumonia as a complication of measles when I was 7 years old. I have a good friend who is deaf in one ear from her childhood bout with measles.
People who refuse to vaccinate their children demonstrate ignorance, hubris, and selfishness. Their imagined fears for their children, fed and reinforced by misinformation on the internet, are putting at risk the lives of other people’s children who cannot be vaccinated because of age or serious medical reasons. They are public health menaces, walking time bombs.
Change the law so that the only reason allowed for exemption from vaccination requirements is medical. Period.
Ella May T. Wulff
Philomath (Feb. 1)