As parts of the United States continue to deal with outbreaks of the easily preventable measles virus in children and adolescents who were never vaccinated, the federal government is taking notice. As CNN reports, the FDA is keeping a very close eye on states with lax vaccine laws, and is considering some pretty drastic measures to prevent parents from taking advantage of certain exemptions.
Most states have some kind of exemption program, whether it be based on “personal beliefs” or religion. Unfortunately, the number of people who are taking advantage of these options is putting public health at risk, and the FDA is preparing to step in before things get out of hand.
“Some states are engaging in such wide exemptions that they’re creating the opportunity for outbreaks on a scale that is going to have national implications,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNN in an interview, adding that if “certain states continue down the path that they’re on, I think they’re going to force the hand of the federal health agencies.”
States that allow exemptions based on personal beliefs open the door for outbreaks of diseases like measles, which has now sickened dozens in Washington. Unsurprisingly, Washington happens to be one of the states with particularly lax vaccine laws.
Vaccine requirements for school are being enforced in some areas where measles is threatening to spread. Some school districts are preventing children from attending school if they don’t have their required vaccines in an effort to keep the rest of the students safe.
The drama over vaccinations can be easily traced back to since-debunked studies that linked the vaccination process to other disorders. Medical professionals the world over have derided parents that avoid childhood vaccinations for their kids, noting the risk that they pose to not only their own offspring but public health as a whole.