Measles: The outbreak and the ethics of mandating vaccinations


Guests: Michael Harkness and Jason Schwartz

In 2000, public health officials declared that measles had been eliminated in the U.S., but a new outbreak resulting from exposure in Disneyland has raised serious concerns among infectious disease experts and many parents about the re-emergence of this serious disease. It also has rekindled the contentious debate about requiring childhood vaccinations. So how did we get from being almost measles-free to confronting an outbreak that has spread to 14 states? Today on Radio Times, we’ll talk about the disease, how it is transmitted, why parents choose not to vaccinate and the ethics and laws surrounding those decisions, and what we can do to control highly-contagious and dangerous illnesses like measles. We’ll start off the hour with local pediatrician MICHAEL HARKNESS who counsels parents about the safety and importance of vaccinations. Then we’re joined by Princeton researcher JASON SCHWARTZ who studies the policies, history and ethics of vaccines and vaccination programs.

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