Vaccines | WOSU Radio

Vaccines

Updated at 4:33 p.m. ET Friday

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Thursday ending vaccination exemptions based on religious beliefs, the latest attempt to address the growing measles outbreak, the worst the U.S. has experienced in decades.

Ohio employees would have the right to sue if forced to have flu shots or other vaccines, under a new proposal being considered by state lawmakers.

The Ohio House bill would prohibit employers from firing or refusing to hire employees who object to immunizations. Employees could object to vaccinations because of medical reasons like allergies, or because of philosophical or religious beliefs.

The number of new measles cases in the United States so far this year has hit 971, exceeding a record established 25 years ago that covered a whole year of new measles cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday.

Starr Roden, left, a registered nurse and immunization outreach coordinator with the Knox County Health Department, administers a vaccination to Jonathan Detweiler, 6, at the facility in Mount Vernon, Ohio.
Paul Vernon / Associated Press

States are heatedly debating whether to make it more difficult for students to avoid vaccinations for religious or philosophical reasons amid the worst measles outbreak in decades, but schoolchildren using such waivers are outnumbered in many states by those who give no excuse at all for lacking their shots.

Americans could be forgiven for not knowing that much about measles. After all, it's been 51 years since an effective vaccine was introduced, quickly turning the disease from a common childhood experience to a rarity, and nearly two decades since the disease was declared eliminated from the U.S.

But outbreaks have surfaced throughout the country over the past few months, affecting more than 700 people.

Nurse Nicole Simpson prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta on Feb. 7, 2018.
David Goldman / AP

As the nation battles a measles outbreak, there’s a new bill in the Ohio legislature that would require that parents be told there are exemptions in the law that requires kids to be vaccinated to attend school.

Measles is on the rise again, all around the globe.

Though the number of people affected in the U.S. is still relatively low compared with the countries hardest hit, there are a record number of U.S. measles cases — more than 700, so far, in 2019, according to the CDC — the highest since the disease was eliminated in the U.S. back in 2000.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 695 measles cases in 22 states.

"This is the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since measles was eliminated from this country in 2000," says a CDC statement issued late Wednesday.

The Measles Outbreak And Anti-Vaccine Movement

Apr 16, 2019
Pixabay

The Centers for Disease Control announced this week that the number of measles cases nationwide has risen to more than 500, the second-highest number since measles was supposedly eradicated in the U.S. in 2000.

Experts point to outbreaks around the world and the fact that more families are traveling overseas and returning with the highly contagious disease to pockets of the country where anti-vaccine movements have gained footholds.

Today on Wellness Wednesday on All Sides with Ann Fisher: measles and the anti-vaccine movement. 

Measles is surging. Last week the U.S. recorded 90 cases, making this year's outbreak the second largest in more than two decades.

So far this year, the U.S. has confirmed 555 measles cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday. That's 50 percent higher than the total number recorded last year, even though we're only about a quarter of the way through 2019.

And the virus isn't slowing down.

Ethan Lindenberger testifies during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 5, 2019, to examine vaccines, focusing on preventable disease outbreaks.
Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

An Ohio teen defied his mother's anti-vaccine beliefs and started getting his shots when he turned 18 — and told Congress on Tuesday that it's crucial to counter fraudulent claims on social media that scare parents.

With the flu season less than half over, at least two young people in Ohio have died from the illness, including a 13-year-old Cleveland girl last week.

Dr. John Bower is an infectious disease specialist at Akron Children’s Hospital. He said some patients are concerned that the vaccine will actually bring on the flu, or that it simply is not effective.

Air Force Senior Airman Antoinette Fowler shows a 4-year-old how to give a vaccination during a teddy bear clinic at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
Ilka Cole / U.S. Air Force

As public health officials in Washington state scramble to contain a measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest, some of their counterparts in Ohio suggest it is time to change the state law that allows parents to easily opt out of vaccinations.

Ethan Lindenberger is getting vaccinated for well, just about everything.

He's 18 years old, but had never received vaccines for diseases like hepatitis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, or the chickenpox.

Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs Office/Flickr

For older Ohioans, there’s some good and some bad news.  A new shingles vaccine is markedly better than previous options, but the drugmaker is having a hard time keeping up with demand.

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