Not your typical 'come-to-Jesus' moment.
The Anti-Vaxxer movement is a growing health crisis in the United States. Their belief that vaccines are dangerous and cause autism, have led to a comeback of dangerous diseases such as measles, tuberculosis, and mumps.
Measles was thought to be eradicated in the US back in 2000 but there were over 1200 cases in 2019.
"The reason measles is coming back is that a critical number of parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children,'' said Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told USA Today.
The drastic increase in measles cases reported in the U.S. over the past decade has led many states to change laws regarding vaccine exemptions for public schools.
Five states currently ban all nonmedical exemptions, 45 permit religious exemptions to school immunization laws, and 15 allow personal belief exemptions.
But as states tighten their laws by eliminating personal belief exemptions, Anti-Vaxxers are getting around the bans by claiming they have a religious objection to immunization.
According to a study published in Pediatrics, after states legislators banned personal belief exemptions in Vermont, the number of religious-based exemptions for kindergartners multiplied seven-fold, going from 0.5% from 2011 to 2016 to 3.7% in 2018.
"Either parents in Vermont suddenly became very religious, or they started using religious exemptions as a replacement," Offit said according to WebMD.
Offit believes the Vermont example "could be seen as an argument to eliminate all nonmedical exemptions."
Ironically, Vermont has one of the lowest percentages of religiously-affiliated people in the nation.
A 2013 research article about religions and vaccinations found that outside of Christian Scientists, there are "few canonical bases for declining immunization" in the world's major religions. Instead, "religious reasons to decline immunization actually reflected concerns about vaccine safety or personal beliefs among a social network of people organized around a faith community."
In California, after all nonmedical exemptions were banned, the number of medical exemptions increased in areas that previously had high numbers of nonmedical opt-outs.
All of this effort to get around state laws just to put one's child in danger of easily-preventable diseases is ridiculous when one simply looks at the facts.
Vaccinations do not cause autism. A study of over 650,000 children published in 2019 found there is absolutely no evidence that vaccinations cause autism.
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