Who has the luxury of infecting someone’s child?
by Jane Brody
After more than 50 years as a medical and science writer, I’m pained to see that childhood immunizations, perhaps the most important health and lifesaving advance of the last century, are being seriously eroded by misinformation and scaremongering.
The result has been a resurgence in outbreaks of preventable diseases that, in earlier generations, robbed children like me of many weeks of school, left long-lasting physical and emotional scars and, in some cases, ended their lives.
Parents who probably never saw a single case of any of these diseases have chosen to “opt out” of protecting their offspring with vaccines strongly recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccines that have been shown to be safe and effective. Citing personal or religious objections to immunizations, these parents have insisted that their children be allowed to attend school without them.
California recently joined West Virginia and Mississippi in passing legislation that eliminates exemptions from vaccinations for personal or religious reasons. Children with medical conditions that preclude safe immunizations remain exempt. All other parents who choose not to have their children immunized will have to home-school them.