Musings on Measles

For some reason, there are more kids with peanut allergies than beforemeasles.

Peanut allergy, which can cause life-threatening anaphylaxis, is very serious. The community, in response, has adjusted their way of life to protect this minority, knowing the impact even a tiny particle of peanut can have on those that are allergic. We now have peanut free schools, peanut free airplanes, peanut free Halloween. Perhaps begrudgingly, but always understandably, we did this to protect those that can’t always protect themselves.

And now, according to this report in the journal Pediatrics,  we are seeing ‘pockets’ of communities where the decision to not vaccinate is more prevalent than most of the United States. Without vaccination rates somewhere in the 90% range, the community loses the powerful effect of ‘herd’ immunity, where even the unvaccinated are unlikely to get a potentially life threatening disease.

There are kids with cancer and autoimmune diseases that can’t receive vaccines because they are immunosuppressed. There are children under 4 that are incompletely immunized. In the midst of this growing measles outbreak, how does the community respond to protect these kids? Is your right not to vaccinate your child, the same as my right to eat peanuts next to a child with a peanut allergy? I would never do that, by the way.

I’m struggling with this one. Can someone help me out?

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