Mr. Ross Silverman, professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health – Indianapolis (IUPU), recently published “Controlling Measles through Politics and Policy” in The Hastings Center Report. In the article, Mr. Silverman discusses vaccination as a successful public health intervention. More specifically, since 2000, vaccination campaigns against measles, which is highly contagious but preventable through the measles‐mumps‐rubella (MMR) vaccine, have reduced both the global incidence of the disease and measles deaths by 80 percent.
However, progress toward measles elimination has slid backward in several previously well‐protected global regions. With more communities below or at risk of falling below the 95 percent immunization rates required for herd immunity — due more and more to vaccine skepticism and declination rather than lack of access — many U.S. states and countries must reappraise their vaccination policies and programs.
From 2002 to 2017, all measles cases in the Western Hemisphere were imported. Endemic measles has reappeared in Venezuela following the collapse of its government and economy. Europe experienced a fifteen-fold increase in regional cases between 2016 (which had a record low of 5,273) and 20184; and, as of February 2019, it has ongoing outbreaks in France, Greece, Italy, and Romania. The number and size of measles‐vulnerable hotspots and high‐profile measles outbreaks in the United States is increasing, especially in metropolitan areas of states that permit philosophical exemptions to childhood vaccination requirements.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on July 05