‘Broad-Based Response’ Necessary To Prevent Measles Resurgence

Washington Post: Measles was eliminated. But we can’t be sure it’ll stay that way.
Saad B. Omer, William H. Foege chair in global health and professor of global health, epidemiology, and pediatrics at Emory University, and Robert Bednarczyk, assistant professor at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health

“…A return of widespread measles is not inevitable, but to be sure we prevent it, we need to address vaccine refusal directly. … [W]hile a national measles resurgence in the United States has been kept at bay, we cannot be complacent. With increases in vaccine refusal, the risk of larger outbreaks remains. Imported measles cases will often find those who are susceptible to the disease, causing these outbreaks even after measles has been eliminated. If vaccine refusal is left unchecked, more people will be susceptible to this disease, leading to larger outbreaks and possibly resumption of sustained transmission. … [I]f we want to prevent [a national measles resurgence or multi-state outbreak], we need a coherent response to vaccine hesitancy. … In the aftermath of the last measles resurgence in the United States in 1989-1991, there was a remarkably bipartisan effort to address the main cause of that resurgence: vaccine access. President Bill Clinton and congressional Republicans and Democrats came together to establish the Vaccines for Children program to remove affordability as a barrier to vaccination. This program was effective in addressing inequities in immunization coverage. Preventing the next potential resurgence of measles will require a similar broad-based response” (2/11).

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