The trouble for public health experts lies in all the poor pandemic policy decisions that were never properly debated, thrust on an uneasy population, and failed to prevent transmissions or infections.
Last week, I reported that a significant outbreak of Strep A infections in the Denver, Colorado, area worried public health officials.
Now there is news of a measles outbreak in Ohio, which has infected at least 80 children and hospitalized 32.
A measles outbreak in Columbus, Ohio has sickened over 80 children and hospitalized dozens. The majority of these cases have involved unvaccinated children who were nonetheless eligible for vaccination. It is not yet clear how long the outbreak will continue, with the most recent case having been detected just last week.
Columbus Public Health officials first reported the outbreak in early November, though the first known cases are now believed to have begun in mid-October. According to the CPH’s publicly available data, updated Tuesday morning, there are now 82 confirmed cases of measles in the area, while 32 children have been hospitalized. None have died.
The number of cases is ticking up again after declining due to pandemic restrictions.
In 2019, right before the pandemic, the US saw the most reported measles cases since the 1990s. The majority of cases were in underimmunized communities, and 89% of people with measles were unvaccinated or had an unknown vaccine status.
“Ironically, the silver lining of COVID was we had 13 cases,” Abelowitz said, referring to the CDC’s official count of measles cases in 2020. “Now that we’re starting to see this outbreak here, this is what we were very fearful of.”
Measles has been considered eliminated from the US since 2000, which means that while there have been isolated outbreaks, there hasn’t been “continuous transmission of the disease for more than 12 months.” In the decade before 1963, when the measles vaccine became available, 3 million to 4 million people were infected and 48,000 were hospitalized per year.
Public health experts blame “vaccine hesitancy” for explaining away this year’s batch of cases. The Washington Post finds a way to blame Republicans (of course).
…More than a third of parents with children under 18 — and 28 percent of all adults — now say parents should be able to decide not to vaccinate their children for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) to attend public schools, even if remaining unvaccinated may create health risks for others, according to new polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-care research nonprofit.
Public sentiments against vaccine mandates have grown significantly since the pandemic, said Jen Kates, a Kaiser senior vice president. A 2019 poll by the Pew Research Center found that less than a quarter of parents — and 16 percent of all adults — opposed school vaccination requirements.
The growing opposition stems largely from shifts among people who identify as or lean Republican, the Kaiser survey found, with 44 percent saying parents should be able to opt out of those childhood vaccines — more than double the 20 percent who felt that way in 2019.
It is also interesting to note that many cases are in an age range when pandemic restrictions may have made it challenging to keep up with vaccine schedules.
More than two-thirds of the cases confirmed so far are among children aged 1 year old to 5 years old.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the first dose of a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine for children aged 14 months to 15 months and a second dose at age 4 to age 6.
The trouble for public health experts lies in all the poor pandemic policy decisions that were never adequately debated, thrust on an uneasy population, and failed to prevent transmissions or infections. Trust, once lost, is tough to regain.
Deriding parental worry and politicizing concerns will do little to persuade many of the usefulness of vaccines. Perhaps a new strategy may be in order?DONATE
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