The outbreaks are sparking backlash against the movement that had been gaining traction in pockets across the country. Now more states are looking at tightening vaccination exemptions as tech companies start to crack down on misinformation.
The resurgence of measles across the United States is spurring a backlash against vaccine critics, from congressional hearings probing the spread of vaccine misinformation to state measures that would make it harder for parents to opt out of immunizing their children. In Washington state, where the worst measles outbreak in more than two decades has sickened nearly 70 people and cost over $1 million, two measures are advancing through the state legislature that would bar parents from using personal or philosophical exemptions to avoid immunizing their school-age children. Both have bipartisan support despite strong anti-vaccination sentiment in parts of the state. (Sun, 2/25)
Facebook will soon take action against misinformation about vaccines, according to a Facebook representative. Public health experts have pointed fingers at social media platforms, saying that false claims that vaccines cause autism and other diseases have frightened parents into refusing to vaccinate, resulting in the current measles outbreak that started in Washington state. (Cohen and Bonifield, 2/25)
Lawmakers and public health advocates are pressuring tech companies to crack down on anti-vaccine content proliferating online, which they fear is contributing to a massive measles outbreak in the United States. Experts attribute the outbreak to the increasing number of “anti-vaxers,” people who don’t vaccinate their children. And they warn the movement is largely using social media to promote their views, for example via YouTube videos and Facebook discussion groups. (Birnbaum, 2/25)
Measles outbreaks across the nation are prompting state lawmakers to consider eliminating vaccination exemptions for religious and personal beliefs that have been claimed by the parents of some children. Public health experts and officials blame the exemptions as one reason why states are seeing an increased number of cases of measles. (Hellmann, 2/26)
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