The Political Side Effects of the Measles Outbreak


Lucy McGehee, Reporter

Within the twirling, colorful rides of Disneyland, the measles virus has made its way back into the United States. Just as the 100th case of measles has been confirmed in the U.S., congress has now found itself intertwined with the recurring medical question: Should it be mandatory for parents to vaccinate their children?

The appearance of the once-eradicated disease has been accredited to the recent trend of parents opting not to vaccinate their children with MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), the measles preventative vaccination. The trend was brought on from fraudulent research that suggests that MMR may be a possible link to Autism, which has since been debunked by the CDC as a myth. Along with trends comes a new label for the sub-group of people that partake in the beliefs. The label slapped on to this emerging group is “the anti-vaxxers”.

There is one small miracle to the measles outbreak politically. President Obama and Speaker Boehner actually agree with each other. Yes, it does seem like common sense to take every step as a parent to prevent deadly diseases from encountering their children, and this happens to be an issue that most Republican and Democrat politicians can agree on.

Both parties have stated that vaccinations are a necessity, with Senator Ted Cruz (Texas- R) saying on Tuesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee, “Children of course should be vaccinated,” and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton (D) tweeting, “The Earth is round, the sky is blue and #vaccineswork.”

Of course to every discussion that passes through Congress, there are outliers that will disagree. In this case and frequently in many others, the outlier is Senator Rand Paul (Kentucky- R). Senator Paul happens to be a  medical doctor himself, but in an interview with CNBC on February 2nd said that, “Most [vaccines] ought to be voluntary” and, “I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.”

Thinking simply, it is much more common to see children develop diseases such as hepatitis, chicken pox, and rubella that have not been administered the vaccine based off their parent’s preference, then to see children develop extreme side effects from the vaccines.

Controversy over whether or not vaccines should be voluntary is becoming yet another side effect of the measles out-break, and while politicians further discuss mandatory vaccinations in Washington, it is the parent’s job to ensure that childhood should be as fun as riding the teacups at Disneyland, without taking the deadly chances of not vaccinating children based off of fraudulent evidence.