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Misguided parents could be the cause of returning diseases

The cloth-diaper clad designer babies of Hollywood whose gluten-free, non-GMO lifestyles might help them become future global ambassadors of peace could now come with an additional feature: measles and whooping cough. 

According to an investigative report published by the Hollywood Reporter earlier this month, some schools in Los Angeles’ wealthiest neighborhoods have vaccination rates as low as nations in sub- Saharan Africa. There are even some in which up to 88 percent of parents opt to not vaccinate their children. In most states, this number is less than 1 percent. 

Many parents have cited personal beliefs as their reason for not vaccinating their little sprouts — personal beliefs which hopefully have little to do with the celebrity influence of those such as Jenny McCarthy and the like who have fuzzied the minds of the eager-to-be-bestest-ever parents by making scientifically unsound connections between vaccines and autism. 

Raising a child as a free-range chicken is certainly on the list of parenting styles available to those looking to bring life into this world, but depriving little Billy of his vaccines has far more dire consequences for the rest of the world than refusing him a doughnut. 

A key component to ensuring a vaccine’s effectiveness for many diseases is creating “herd immunity.” Though vaccines are not 100 percent effective, the more people who are vaccinated, the less likely the disease is to spread. The more unvaccinated people that are introduced into the population, the greater the risk of introducing the disease. 

According to the National Network for Immunization Information, about 95 percent of a community must be immunized for it to be considered effective. This is not the case when in some schools as few as 7 percent of students receive the Mumps, Measles and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and when whooping cough is “spreading like wildfire,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

While many U.S.-based non-governmental organizations have made immeasurable progress in ensuring that many of the 30 million non-immunized children in the developing world have better access to health resources and vaccinations for various diseases, perhaps it’s time for them to turn their eyes inward and work on public health initiatives to educate those whose “affluenza” might be posing a threat to the common good. 

Divya Kumar is a senior majoring in mass communications and economics.