Education is critical to vaccinations and preventing diseases



A certified medical assistant holds needles full of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination drug Gardasil before administering them to children at Amistad Community Health Center in Corpus Christi, Tex., on May 27, 2016. (Matthew Busch/For The Washington Post)

The Oct. 9 news article “Failure to vaccinate is likely culprit of U.S. measles outbreaks, study says” brought notice to the growing problem of unvaccinated people and the U.S. measles outbreaks. The study eliminated other possibilities, as statistics have shown a drop in outside cases of the disease coming into the United States and there is little to no evidence that the vaccine is losing its effectiveness.

Forgoing vaccinations is a serious problem, but it cannot be fixed by eliminating only religious and philosophical exemptions for children entering public schools in California, Mississippi and West Virginia. Vaccination protests have grown larger as false accounts have spread like wildfire via social media. The country is still missing vital education and accurate communication on vaccines. Many opponents of vaccinations are stuck on old ideas that have been disproved, such as that vaccines cause autism. Doctors should be fully informed so they can teach their patients. Education and accurate communication can help fix the declining number of vaccinations in some communities in the United States that have led to outbreaks of dangerous diseases.

Rachel Gerber, Pittsburgh



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