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March 7, 2019

The True Cost of Measles Outbreaks During the Postelimination Era

Author Affiliations
  • 1Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 4Emory Vaccine Center, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA. 2019;321(12):1155-1156. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.1506

A large measles outbreak in Washington State has prompted officials to declare a state of emergency. As of March 4, 2019, the Washington State Health Department reported 71 confirmed cases,1 with the majority of cases among individuals who were not vaccinated or who had an unverified vaccination status. The outbreak is centered in a geographic cluster of persistently high vaccine exemption rates among young children.2 This cluster has persisted despite the overall reduction in vaccine exemptions in the state of Washington, subsequent to the introduction of legally mandated health care practitioner counseling of parents seeking vaccine exemptions.2

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    1 Comment for this article
    Responsibility In Vaccine Refusals
    Thomas Benzoni, DO | DMU
    I wonder, is it possible to have an adult conversation with vaccine refusers?

    Adults take responsibility for their choices, not foisting consequences on others.

    In my home State, Iowa, I'm required to have auto insurance if I operate a car on streets.

    Why not require refusers to buy insurance, a bond, to cover the costs of their choices?

    With a bit a actuarial work, I'm sure a policy could be generated and priced out.

    And to concerns about affordability for those of fewer means: don't sweat it. The poor are smart enough to get vaccinated;
    it's the wealthy entitled who drink from the public trough without filling it.