This Is What Happens When Anti-Vaxxers Don’t Vaccine Their Children

859

A 2014 measles outbreak in California’s Disneyland amusement park resulted in the passage of a sweeping new vaccination law and a number of new immunizations. Previously, low immunization rates continued to represent a serious public health threat that led to old diseases resurfacing, as more and more parents are taken in by the lie that some vaccines can cause children to be afflicted with autism spectrum disorder, a behavioral disorder much more prevalent in today’s society than it was only a few decades ago.

Senate Bill 277 went into effect in 2016, and bars families from opting out of state-administered immunizations on the grounds of their own religious beliefs. The law was put into place to halt an increasing number of “anti-vaxxers” residing in Orange County, where the movement has gained a lot of ground in recent years (unfortunately for the rest of us who wish to remain healthy and disease-free). Since the bill became law, immunization rates have mostly returned to normal, and public health officials hope this will lead to fewer outbreaks in the future.

Prior to the bill’s implementation, around 1,300 exemptions per year were made on the grounds of personal religious belief, and that number has fallen to about 270–a marked improvement. Parents were made aware of the new law up to six months before their children were admitted to kindergarten. Those parents whose children had been exempted in the past were also contacted and informed of Bill 277’s passage, leading to a number of new immunizations. A massive campaign was sure to alert parents of forthcoming deadlines, increasing the number of mandatory vaccinations even more.

SB 277 was put into effect mere months after a California measles outbreak affected travelers visiting Disneyland. Twenty-five of 131 people were hospitalized due to the outbreak, seventy percent of whom had not been vaccinated for protection against the disease.

Although anti-vaxxers and religious exemptions account for a number of those parents who choose not to vaccinate their children, there are much more who either cannot afford common vaccinations or claim that they simply forget due to a lack of time. These new outbreaks put those who cannot afford vaccinations at greater risk, and that is a cost we simply should not be willing to pay. Parents will be held accountable for the status of their kids’ vaccinations because of SB 277–at least in California.

When considering SB 277, it was discussed that parents might pull their children from the public school system as a consequence of the new law. Not surprisingly, the number of children who enroll has remained somewhat constant even after the law went into effect.

Sometimes, medical service professionals administer vaccines improperly, which can result in a number of minor physical injuries. Even so, those faulty administrations rarely result in serious side effects, and absolutely no link to autism spectrum disorder has been found.

Even though some parents make decisions that could leave us all at risk, we do reserve the right to take legal action when our own children are put in jeopardy as a result. Sometimes our medical care providers improperly administer vaccines, and in those instances, we also reserve the right to take action. This is why vaccine law exists, and this is why there are experienced attorneys who are capable of providing valuable help in the quest for compensation for those hurt for either of these reasons.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, always revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance producer for USA Today, and a contributor at Technorati. She lives in Utah with her 2 kids and husband. Melissa Thompson can be reached via LinkedIn or Twitter @melthompson88. Please follow and friend her on either site.