President Obama is asking all parents to vaccinate their children in the wake of a recent measles outbreak that continues to spread across the country.
“There is every reason to get vaccinated — there aren’t reasons to not,” Obama said in an interview with NBC News. “I just want people to know the facts and science and the information,” the president said. “And the fact is that a major success of our civilization is our ability to prevent disease that in the past have devastated folks. And measles is preventable.”
Growing skepticism concerning vaccinations is to blame for the current health crisis, the majority of which is founded on anti-vaccine beliefs.
The measles vaccination had almost completely eliminated the disease from the United States as of 2000.
However, a small number of parents are beginning to deny their children the vaccination, which has resulted in a record year for the disease in 2014, reports Abby Phillip for The Washington Post.
The current outbreak, which so far has affected individuals in 14 states, began with a number of unvaccinated individuals visiting the Disneyland theme park in California earlier this year. The state has 91 reported cases of measles, with at least 58 of them stemming from the events at Disneyland.
There have not been any reported deaths so far in connection with the outbreak.
Health officials in New York reported one case involving a college student with the disease traveling by train across the state, which held the potential to infect every passenger on board.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden has raised concerns about controlling the outbreak, saying that the increasing number of unvaccinated individuals could cause a “very large” outbreak if something is not done soon. There are currently 102 confirmed cases in the US, and hundreds of other people are being monitored for possible exposure.
In an interview with NBC, Obama told parents that not getting their children vaccinated is putting infants and people who are unable to get vaccinations at risk.
While Obama did mention the concerns some people have relating to the “effects” of the vaccination, including a link to autism, he added that “the science is pretty indisputable.” He also mentioned that both of his daughters have received the vaccination.
“We’ve looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren’t reasons to not,” he said.
He also said that civilizations succeed when they are able to prevent diseases that had previously been devastating.
“You should get your kids vaccinated — it’s good for them,” Obama said. “We should be able to get back to the point where measles effectively is not existing in this country.”