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The Measles Vaccine Follies
The New York Times chronicles a recent measles outbreak in Indiana, and argues that parents need to take the threat of childhood diseases more seriously. Children who aren't vaccinated are being put in danger primarily due to parents' fearswhipped up by irresponsible media reports and unscrupulous plaintiff's attorneysthat childhood vaccinations are unsafe. In reality, vaccines are overwhelmingly safe and any rare risks from vaccination are far outweighed by the greater risks of a child contracting or spreading a dangerous disease.
The outbreak in Indiana last year, which was detailed in a recent report in The New England Journal of Medicine, provided evidence of what can happen to a triumph of public health when a community lets its guard down. A 17yearold unvaccinated girl who visited an orphanage in Romania on a church mission picked up the virus there.
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