US government threatens to FORCE states to implement tighter vaccine laws as measles outbreak sparks concerns over states with ‘personal exemptions’
- It’s not clear what the government could do to enforce vaccinations
- FDA Commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb insisted there are ‘certain rules’ that could be mandated
- 50 cases of measles have been reported in Washington, with other clusters in Texas and New York
- Cases rose 300% worldwide last year, the World Health Organization reports
The US government may soon force states to implement tighter vaccine rules as measles outbreaks erupt across the country.
FDA Commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb told CNN on Tuesday: ‘[If] certain states continue down the path that they’re on, I think they’re going to force the hand of the federal health agencies.’
His main concerns are for the 17 states where exemptions for ‘personal or philosophical reasons’ are allowed.
That includes Washington, where at least 50 have contracted measles recently, and Texas, with eight recorded cases.
In New York, there is a different problem: the state, which requires vaccines for everyone except for medical and religious reasons, is currently trying to contain a measles outbreak in its Hasidic Jewish community.
There is a spotlight on states with ‘personal exemptions’ permitted for vaccines as measles cases spring up across the country
STATES THAT ALLOW PARENTS TO OPT OUT OF VACCINES BASED ON PHILOSOPHICAL BELIEFS
- Louisiana (except no religious exemptions)
- Minnesota (except no religious exemptions)
- Missouri (only for daycare, not public school)
- North Dakota
STATES THAT RECENTLY REVOKED THIS ALLOWANCE:
- West Virginia
It’s not clear what the government could do to enforce vaccinations, but Dr Gottlieb insisted there are ‘certain rules’ that could be mandated.
Globally, cases of measles soared 300 percent last year.
Health officials say the growing number of unvaccinated communities are the sources of this boom.
‘Some states are engaging in such wide exemptions that they’re creating the opportunity for outbreaks on a scale that is going to have national implications,’ Dr Gottlieb told CNN.
The vaccine-skeptical non-profit National Vaccine Information Center slams that take, saying the choice to forego vaccines is a human right.
But Dr Gottlieb and his peers at other federal agencies say there is no grey area: the measles vaccine works and it saves lives.
The World Health Organization says outbreaks are likely to happen once vaccine coverage drops below 95 percent.
Dr Anthony Fauci, head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) sighed when asked about reluctance to vaccinate. The NIH is pouring efforts and funds into designing a vaccine to protect people from the notoriously elusive flu, which mutates every year as it moves from humans to migrating birds and back again.
The measles vaccine, he said, is easy: ‘It’s a one-and-done.’
‘Everyone should be vaccinated. Period,’ Dr Fauci said.