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What can the lessons of measles teach us about the importance of vaccines?

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What can the lessons of measles teach us about the importance of vaccines?

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Thomas J. Berger, PH.D. on measles

Submitted by Emily on

It comes to no surprise that the recent outbreak of more than 100 cases (at this writing) of measles in the nation opened up contentious debate over vaccinations, which in turn , has a profound impact on public health. Though measles were declared no longer endemic in the United States more than a decade ago, it has not been eradicated. As long as measles exist around the globe, still common in some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa, the threat of its introduction by people outside of the country will continue to remain.

Thomas J. Berger, PH.D.
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Roy Benaroch, MD on Measles

We’re all in this together.

People sometimes imagine that whether or not to vaccinate is a personal decision—that it only affects your own children. And other people assume that as long as their own children are vaccinated, they don’t need to worry about what their neighbors do.  These fallacies come from a fundamental misunderstanding of how vaccines work.

Roy Benaroch, MD
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Anna Dragsbaek on Measles

The scientific evidence is strong--vaccines save lives and prevent dangerous diseases like measles.  But perhaps the most poignant lesson is that good science alone is not always enough. Laws and policies matter a lot. As the US experiences a significant measles outbreak, one lesson is clear: science and policy go hand-in-hand. In order to fully realize the power of vaccines, we also need strong laws and policies to support high immunization rates. 

Anna Dragsbaek
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Kenneth Thorpe, Ph.D.
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Kenneth Thorpe on Obesity

Despite many of the problems developing around the world, America continually ranks among the top – the most obese, the most chronic disease with some of the most costly healthcare. By the year 2030, nearly half of America’s elderly population will be obese. Clearly it is time to treat obesity as the national health crisis that it is. 

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