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College students guide to measles vaccination craze

By Erin Shriver
On February 10, 2015

Something rare has been buzzing around the news lately… a measles outbreak. According to there have already been over 644 confirmed cases of measles in the United States in 2014, the most since 1994.

So what does this have to do with us? Well, there are some students here at OU who have children, or who are planning to have children at some time in their life.

When children are born, parents have a choice to give their children the MMR vaccine, which stands for measles, mumps and rubella.

Although this vaccine does not exempt the child from ever getting measles, if everyone gets the vaccine, there is a lower chance of transmission due to herd immunity.

Herd immunity occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity.

Now, I am not one to judge if someone has chosen not to vaccinate their child, but after reading and researching more about this measles outbreak, it all goes back to if parents vaccinated their children.

Some parents fear the risk of autism, even though there is no proof of a casual link between the two, but it is hard for parents to ignore the agony families have experienced when a normal, healthy, child suddenly becomes withdrawn and loses language skills soon after a mandatory vaccine.

There are also moral reasons that parents choose to do not vaccine their children. The U.S. only has one company now making the MRR vaccine, with components, such as material from aborted fetuses, which make it morally objectionable to some parents.

Other parents don’t even think about it twice before vaccinating their children.

The disease is extremely contagious for several reasons according to

  • An infected person can spread it four days before developing a rash
  • 90 percent of people who are not immune and are close to someone with measles will also get infected
  • The virus is airborne
  • It can also live on infected surfaces for up to two hours

If your child has not been vaccinated for the measles and is at Disneyland around someone who currently has measles, but does not know it, they have a 90 percent chance of getting the measles. You will not know if your child is immune to the vaccine until they are infected with the virus, but why not vaccinate your child just in case they are exposed?

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