A 1998 article in the medical journal "The Lancet" linked autism to child vaccinations causing an uproar. And though the research of that study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, has been thoroughly discredited and no link in subsequent studies--of which their have been numerous--have been found, fears persist.
Even after "Lancet" retracted the publication 12 years later some people are afraid of vaccinating their children.
Texas saw a 54 percent increase in pertussis rates last year while the rest of the United States saw modest declines. The disease, more commonly known as whooping cough, is easily avoidable with early vaccination.
Declining herd immunity rates, the rates of the population inoculated to a certain disease, has led to outbreaks of pertussis here in Texas and Measles in California and abroad. This coupled with the fact that the strength of the vaccine's waning after several years worries many public health advocates.
Is it time to get tough on vaccinations?
Efforts to better educate the public are ongoing, but some are calling for more. A movement to "fire" patients that opt out of vaccinations for themselves and their children is growing. In addition, some doctors are calling to make vaccinations mandatory.
- Anna Dragsbaek, president and CEO of The Immunization Partnership