Shots should not be up to politics

As the once-eradicated measles virus continues spreading across the United States, many politicians and news media outlets have allowed a dangerous type of thought gain attention — the anti-vaccination movement.

This movement got its start when one faulty study claimed it found a link between autism and the measles. That research has now been proven completely false.

However, those who oppose the measles vaccination are often given unnecessary media attention.

Even a potential presidential candidate and medical doctor, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, has given clout to the anti-vaccination movement. Earlier this month, he said he heard of “many tragic cases” in which children had “profound mental disorders” after getting immunized. Of course, no scientific research backs this claim.

The measles outbreak is a public health issue and nothing more. When those like Paul make it a politicized topic, misinformation spreads.

Lawmakers in California seem to recognize this and are proposing some progressive legislation that could help curb the spread of some dangerous misinformation. A bill in the state’s senate aims to make it so that parents can only skip vaccinations for their children if there’s a medical risk to the immunization.

While we respect freedom of choice when it comes to certain medical issues, the measles vaccine is an example of something that should be mandatory because of its low risk and huge benefits. We strongly support the California bill and urge other states to consider similar measures for the good of our nation’s health.