Common Sense

Ohio lawmakers may soon get a chance to rectify a glaring oversight when it comes to the health of some of the youngest Ohioans and their families. Reps. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, and Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, plan to introduce a bill that will require children in day care to be vaccinated against preventable diseases, such as mumps and measles.

Ohio is the only state in the country that does not now require such vaccinations for preschool and day care kids.

Meanwhile, Ohio is facing an outbreak of measles the likes of which have not been seen anywhere in this country in nearly 20 years. Health officials have raced to distribute thousands of doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine since that outbreak began.

Very young or older folks, in addition to those who may be immuno-compromised, are especially vulnerable to such diseases, and they depend, to some degree, on those who are building up a “herd immunity” through regular vaccination to keep them healthy. But the growing number of misguided decisions to intentionally remain unvaccinated, or worse, to intentionally not get children vaccinated, has reduced the herd immunity to a level that allows such outbreaks to develop.

“Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 9 out of ten people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden.

So, if you have chosen to prevent your child from receiving the vaccine, not only is your own child’s life at risk, but the lives of any other vulnerable members of the population with which they might come in contact. There is no evidence that the propaganda that led so many to make that dangerous choice has even a shred of validity. But there is a great deal of evidence that it has put certain segments of the population at great risk from diseases that should have been entirely preventable.

Those in Columbus, if presented with the opportunity close this vaccination gap – at least from a regulatory standpoint, should do so as quickly as possible.