Giving Compass' Take:

· Parents' deeply held religious or philosophical beliefs can lead to unvaccinated children. The authors discuss a new proposal to reduce vaccine exemptions while also respecting freedom of conscience. 

· Although vaccination rates are high, there are regions experiencing disease outbreaks. How can donors support health organizations in local communities?

· Check out this article debunking common vaccination myths

Vaccine resistance is one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019, according to the World Health Organization. Here in the U.S., New York City is currently experiencing its worst outbreak of measles in decades, sickening scores of children in ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods.

Other clustered outbreaks of deadly and highly contagious, but vaccine-preventable, diseases are becoming frustratingly routine around the country. These outbreaks are caused by some parents’ decision to claim religious and philosophical exemptions to state mandates that children must be vaccinated in order to attend school.

In response, prominent health organizations and advocacy groups have called on state legislatures to eliminate religious and philosophical exemptions.

However, in nearly all states, committed anti-vaxxers’ lobbying power would likely make it politically unfeasible to do so. In addition, this approach may ultimately be counterproductive, leading to inflamed passions that unnecessarily politicize and undermine the bipartisan consensus around vaccine policy that is critical to its continued success. Finally, it would be preferable to respect individual liberty and parental rights if the public health goal of maintaining sufficiently widespread immunity can be achieved without unnecessary coercion.

Read the full article about vaccine exemptions by Timothy D. Lytton, Stacie Kershner, Hillel Y. Levin, and Daniel Salmon at The Conversation.