We know you’ve heard it hundreds of times now, but the anti-vaxxer movement is still a growing health crisis in the U.S., and these people’s belief that vaccines are dangerous and they cause autism have led to the comeback of many dangerous diseases, such as measles, mumps, and even tuberculosis.
Even though measles were thought to be eradicated in the U.S. in the early 2000s, there were more than 1200 cases of measles in 2019 alone, and, according to Paul Offit director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the only reason measles are coming back is that a critical number of parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children.
Many states have already changed laws regarding vaccine exemptions for public schools, and all nonmedical exemptions have been banned in five states, while 45 permit religious exemptions to school immunization laws.
However, as states tighten their laws regarding personal belief exemptions, the anti-vaxxers are getting around the bans by claiming that they have a religious objection to getting their children vaccinated.
Pediatrics published a study that showed that the number of religious-based exemptions for kindergarteners multiplied by seven after state legislators banned personal belief exemptions in the state of Vermont.
Offit said that either parents in Vermont suddenly became very religious, or the anti-vaxxers started using religious exemptions as a replacement. Ironically, though, Vermont has one of the lowest percentages of religiously-affiliated people across the states.
A research conducted in 2013 showed that outside of Christian Scientists, there are “very few canonical bases for declining immunization” in the world’s major religions, and instead “religious reasons to decline immunization actually reflected concerns about vaccine safety or personal beliefs among a social network of people organized around a faith community.”
The number of medical exemptions increased in California after all non-medical exemptions were banned, especially in areas that previously had high numbers of non-medical opt-outs, which means that the anti-vaxxers are trying their hardest to keep their children unvaccinated.
Even though there have been numerous studies on this topic, a 2019 study that took into account over 650,000 children found that there is absolutely NO EVIDENCE that vaccinations cause autism.