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April 2015

Measles, Mandates, and Making Vaccination the Default Option

Author Affiliations
  • 1Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, Washington
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle
  • 3Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(4):303-304. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0291

The tension between individual choice and public health is both long established and enduring. It also appears to be at a breaking point. With Ebola still crisp in our collective consciousness, health care professionals, public health practitioners, and the public have been captivated by a domestic measles outbreak and confounded by the variation on this timeless tension that it embodies: more parents are exercising their choice to refuse or delay vaccination for their child, yet continued widespread acceptance of vaccination is critical to maintain herd immunity and protect the community from diseases that still circulate.

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