UCLA was ranked the No 1 public university in the nation in September by U.S. News & World Report. You need to be elite to be a Bruin. So it’s astonishing to learn that at least one UCLA student failed to get vaccinated for measles.
It’s astonishing that an illness declared to be eliminated in 2002 has returned as a significant health concern. This year is on track to become the worst year for measles outbreaks since 1992. More than 700 cases have been reported in 22 states, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fortunately, the crisis at UCLA and California State University, Los Angeles, has subsided. Two-thirds of the 800 faculty, staff members and students who were quarantined have been allowed to resume their normal lives.
State legislators are debating strengthening Senate Bill 277, a 2015 bill that banned vaccine exemptions based on personal beliefs. That appeared to be effective. The number of vaccinated kindergarteners increased from 90.2 percent in the 2013-14 school year to 95.1 percent in 2017-18, according to the California Department of Public Health.
A new bill, SB 276, would require doctors to submit a standardized form to the state Health Department on behalf of any child eligible for a medical exemption.
In December, a medical sociologist from the University of California, Riverside, joined a Denmark-based study on why some parents resist having their children vaccinated. Richard M. Carpiano, a professor of public policy and sociology, is one of eight researchers in the four-year study funded by a $1.53 million grant from the Danish Novo Nordisk Foundation.
“There’s a lot of hesitancy surrounding vaccines, and much of it is caused by misinformation,” Carpiano said in press release. “We have a highly effective and safe tool for preventing disease and death, but strangely enough, it’s being questioned.”
We believe in the science. Unless there is a medical reason not to, every parent should make certain their children are vaccinated — not just for their own sake but for the people they interact with.