Rockland County, New York officials declared a state of emergency today and banned anyone who is under 18 years of age and unvaccinated against the measles from public spaces for 30 days or until they receive the MMR vaccination.
Cynthia Leifer, professor of immunology at Cornell University, says the general public is at risk when parents choose not to vaccinate their children and compares the situation to the recklessness of drunk drivers.
“Regardless of the reason why parents choose not to vaccinate their children, it is important for the rest of us to realize they are making the choice for all of us, too. By not vaccinating their own children, they increase everyone else's chance of getting a preventable childhood disease like measles, whooping cough or even polio.
“Given the increased media attention to vaccine hesitancy, it is important that we continue to emphasize vaccines are safe and effective. Vaccines save lives.
“Society forgot about the dangers of childhood diseases, which led to complacency. This fueled the misconception that the vaccines are more dangerous than getting the disease. This is simply false. We need to protect the health of children, and vaccines do that.
“I previously made the comparison between drunk drivers and parents who don’t vaccinate. When parents send their unvaccinated children to school, they endanger the life of their own child, and other children, just like drunk drivers put their own life and the lives of other travelers at risk. The schools and the court systems must intervene and keep unvaccinated children home to prevent spread of diseases.
“It is unfortunate that some parents use their children as pawns in a game to argue for parental rights when no matter how the game ends, the children lose.”