17 February 2015
A recent measles outbreak in California, primarily in Disneyland, has raised a considerable amount of suspicion with the world-population due to the controversy with vaccinations already being a well-known topic in the United States. Cable News Network explains in their article, “CDC: 102 Measles Cases in January, Most Stemming from Disney Outbreak,” that visitors to the park were unaware that they caught the measles until it became apparent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that an outbreak had occurred (1). According to the same news network, the measles is no longer indigenous to the United States, but has still been brought into the country by international travelers. This particular outbreak has raised concerns with the CDC and also other parties because of the alarming statistical data that has been uncovered in the recent years. Immunizations are one of the most helpful inventions made for personal health throughout history, yet, parents are undecided if the inventions are truly helpful for their children despite the opinion of pediatricians.
Vaccines are among the most helpful tools in preventing infectious diseases and protecting a person’s health from the complications. In 1809, a smallpox outbreak took place in Massachusetts, causing the first law to be passed – a small pox vaccination mandate. Smallpox vaccines were invented to prevent and control the outbreak that had consequential health and economic problem (Saad et al. 4). This sense of control influenced many other states to enact similar legislature. Saad and his colleagues explained in their article, “Evolution of U.S. Immunization Requirements,” that the smallpox vaccination became widely accepted as an effective tool to prevent the outbreak as the increasingly decline in 1802-1840 despite the challenges in establishing a safe and reliable vaccine (4). This decline suddenly stopped in the 1970s due to the “irregular physicians” which led to complications with vaccinations due to the physician’s unwillingness to help (Saad et al. 4). Due to this complication, smallpox made a considerable reappearance in the United States which in turn led many states to reevaluate their existing vaccination legislations and eventually pass and heavily enforce new legislations (Saad et al. 4).
Saad and his colleagues researched that Jacobson v. Massachusetts was a historical landmark case in 1905 The case is still being pushed for immunizations in schools. They stated in their research that this case “has since served as the foundation for public health laws, the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed the rights to pass and enforce compulsory vaccination laws.” The compulsory vaccination laws were later tried by a case that was filed by a young woman prohibited from public and private schools in San Antonio, Texas thus making school immunization requirement to be constitutional by the Supreme Court (Saad et al. 4). This Supreme Court case makes it official that the Court has been universally supportive of the states’ decision and power to implement vaccination requirements. The modern era of immunization laws is due to the difficulty to control the measles reoccurring outbreak in the 1960s and 1970s (Saad et al. 4). Saad described that in the year 1969, seventeen states had compulsory laws that required students to be vaccinated with the MMR, or measles, mumps, and rubella, vaccination before entering school, and twelve other states authorized the requirements for the vaccination of all six diseases. This was a common routine that had to be carried out at the time (4). The measles outbreak in the 70s resulted in many local and state health officials excluding students from school who did not adhere to the immunization requirements. This exclusion resulted in minimal repercussion which led to quick improvements and the control in the outbreak. In 1980, the clear next step was to