All of the recent reporting about the measles emergency has focused on the number of cases, or how to avoid exposure sites. Clark County Health Director Alan Melnick has been quoted in several articles about the financial costs or effects if a person is not vaccinated, or the incubation periods. All true. However, where is the information about the root cause? Fact: Washington is one of 18 in the nation that allows exemptions for religious or philosophical views.
The California State Court of Appeals in a final decision recently ruled in favor of mandatory vaccinations. Quoting the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1944 ruling that refused to exempt a religious group from child-labor laws, the state court said, “The right to practice religion freely does not include the liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill health or death.” (San Francisco Chronicle, July 3, 2018)
If anyone reading this letter wants to see higher participation rates for immunizations that protect children from diseases like measles, then request from our state representatives to amend our state laws. I’m 65 years old and remember the high fever, dark rooms, and worried parents.