Myths surrounding the MMR vaccine may be contributing to the measles outbreak in Ohio

Myths surrounding the MMR vaccine may be contributing to the measles outbreak in Ohio

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – An Ohio health official says declining vaccination rates likely contributed to the state’s measles outbreak.

As of Thursday, Ohio has 82 confirmed cases from measles, 32 of which required hospitalization. All but five cases were among children aged 1 to 5 years, and none of the patients had been fully vaccinated; four had unknown vaccination status, and at least 23 patients were ineligible for vaccination because of their age, according to the Columbus Department of Public Health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported studies showing a significant drop in measles vaccination rates among eligible children, noting that about 40 million eligible children nationwide missed a dose of the vaccine in 2021.

“This decline is a significant step back in global progress toward achieving and sustaining measles elimination and leaves millions of children vulnerable to infection,” the CDC wrote. in November.

Health leaders in Ohio believe the decline is due to myths surrounding the measles vaccine that may still be prevalent.

“Vaccine hesitancy is something we’re all going to pay dearly for over the next few years of the COVID fiasco,” said Charles Patterson, health commissioner for the Clark County Combined Health District.

Some health officials fear the worst is yet to come, believing that the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine has called into question other vaccines, such as the MMR dose.

Patterson says the myths surrounding the MMR vaccine began in 1998, when a now-discredited researcher claimed to have observed a link between the MMR vaccine and predisposing children to pervasive developmental disorders. His claims have since been refuted, and the study has been declared unethical.

“That article has since been retracted, the professor who conducted the research admitted that it was flawed research and that it was simply not true,” Patterson said. “Since then, there have been at least nine studies that have shown that there is no causal link between MMR and autism.”

Even so, Patterson said measles among the unvaccinated population has been a problem for decades.

“In 2000, measles was declared gone from the United States,” Patterson said. “Unfortunately, now it’s coming back and it’s a big problem because of the reduction in vaccines that are out there.”

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