Vermont has seen an outbreak of pertussis, commonly called whooping cough, and for a very obvious reason — it is one of the states with the highest rates of exemption for childhood vaccinations.
Parents are typically either extremely supportive or very much against the requirement for vaccinations in order to enroll their children in school. While Alaska is the state with the highest exemption rate, at 9 percent, Vermont is not far behind with a rate of 6 percent. The “philosophical exemption” basically allows parents to choose whether or not their children are vaccinated.
While the Senate sways in favor of eliminating philosophical exemption, the House is in favor of keeping it. If no agreement can be made, Vermont will remain one of 20 states that allow the refusal of childhood immunizations.
Supporters of vaccinations say they don’t want to wait until there is a measles outbreak — prevention is necessary now. Between January and the first week of April of 2012, Vermont saw 102 cases of pertussis. Washington state wins the highest number of cases; 640 cases were reported between January and March 2012, up from just 94 during the same months in the previous year.
Individuals who support philosophical exemption say they don’t want to deny their children public school education simply because they do not want to vaccinate them. These individuals also say we’re not in a public health crisis.
However, the increasing rate of the very preventable pertussis might suggest otherwise, and there is no knowing what other outbreaks might occur with such drastic decreases in vaccinations.
Resource: Huffington Post