Measles Outbreak State of Emergency in New York

You may have read recently about Rockland County in New York instituting a state of emergency in response to a measles outbreak. If not, you can read about it in from NBC News here.


This single county in New York saw over 150 cases of measles in 2019 by the end of March. More than 82 percent of those cases had not received a single dose of the vaccine.


From 1912 to 1922, an average of 6000 deaths from measles were reported each year in the United States and nearly every child became infected. After the vaccine became widespread, starting in 1968, rates of infection dropped significantly. By 2000, there was an absence of continuous disease transmission for 12 months, leading the CDC to declare measles had been eradicated in the United States. But, because some choose not to vaccinate, outbreaks occur.


Measles is an incredibly infectious disease. Measles also kills a small percentage of those it infects.  The measles vaccine is highly effective, but if enough people choose to not vaccinate, outbreaks will occur. Outbreaks definitely put those who have chosen not to vaccinate at risk, but it also puts at risk those who - for a variety of medical reasons -  are unable to vaccinate.


Vaccine-caused injuries, though they do occur, are exceedingly rare. They are so rare, that, in many cases, correlation between a vaccine and an injury is so small that proving that correlation can be almost impossible. If you don't vaccinate against measles, there is an incredibly high risk that you will contract measles. And if you have measles, there is a small chance that you will die because of it. Or, you can vaccinate and run a risk of injury so small that statisticians and epidemiologists have difficulty proving that the risk even exists.

Furthermore, there is a "no fault" program that provides an opportunity for a financial recovery if you believe you have been injured by a vaccine. For certain vaccines and certain conditions, you don't even have to prove the vaccine caused the injury.


So, vaccinate if you can. If you are injured, contact an attorney who specializes in vaccine injuries to see if you might be entitled to a recovery.

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