As the Disneyland measles outbreak continues to spread, some are pointing the finger at Merck, maker of the only U.S.-approved measles vaccine. But when it comes to encouraging the public to get vaccinated, there's a limit on how much the company can do, its R&D chief says.
The measles outbreak that began at Disneyland is spreading across California and beyond, and it's reigniting a heated debate over the anti-vaccination movement.
Though the bill passed in the House after a bipartisan 42-19 vote, opponents have accused its sponsor of treating parents like "idiots" and "morons."
Measles outbreaks in New York and Canada have ratcheted up arguments about the merits of vaccines in recent weeks, but the row is perhaps most intense in Colorado. This week a proposal to tighten vaccine exemption laws advanced in the state, leading to opponents accusing the bill's sponsor of treating parents like "idiots" and "morons."
Andrew Wakefield was struck off the U.K. medical register and The Lancet retracted his paper that linked the MMR vaccine to autism, but the latest survey data suggests one in 5 Americans believe doctors know vaccines cause autism.
While childhood immunization rates show the vast majority of U.S. parents support vaccination, the country is dotted with clusters of people who think the risks outweigh the benefits. Reaching the 10% who decline the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is a challenge for healthcare authorities and research suggests there is no easy solution.
Blogs and social media chatter often paint liberals, particularly Whole Foods-shopping, "earth mother" types, as the lead proponents of the anti-vaccine movement. Yet this view has been contradicted by surveys in the past, and was once again revealed to be flawed by data published this week.
The debate around vaccines has become as entrenched, polarized and vitriolic as any in popular culture. Antivaccinators are often called stupid, but this label is ill-suited to the wealthy, educated parents that form part of the resistance. So why are they against vaccines?