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It was just last month that CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald resigned amid allegations that she lied about having a master’s degree and improperly paid for information on vaccines with federal grants. A month earlier, her husband, James Fitzgerald, was arrested for allegedly running a sex trafficking ring that ensnared underage children.
Then there was a man who, despite seven children having already been vaccinated with at least one of his children, obtained vaccines through a fraudulent request.
These are just a few of the multiple stories we’ve been hearing this past year. Yes, everyone is justified in putting their concerns on the backburner as they focus on helping their own children. But, as we all know, the number one problem facing children is vaccines.
As the CDC and medical professionals have been telling us for years, vaccination is the most important thing we can do to protect them. Research shows that around three-quarters of childhood illnesses in America are prevented by vaccines. Yet, we still have more than 100,000 cases of vaccine-preventable disease in the U.S. every year.
According to the National Vaccine Information Center, vaccination rates for children need to be at or above herd immunity levels. In other words, those levels need to be high enough so that parents who don’t trust vaccines are no longer being forced to give their children vaccines.
The CDC’s threshold of herd immunity is much lower than it was a decade ago, when the vaccine safety information was much more solid.
Vaccines were developed in medicine with the best of intentions. We must protect the children of this country and be willing to put our lives at risk by allowing parents, and everyone else, to make choices that have come to be considered safe and commonsense.
We all know we can protect our children by vaccinating them. Your local pediatrician is there for you if you have questions, if you want to discuss an issue, or if you just need to get some insurance coverage. We can do it.
Two in three parents agree that their child’s vaccines should be legally required in this country. That’s not just the majority, that’s the two-thirds.
— Jeanne Lambrew is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, the former chief speechwriter for former Vice President Al Gore, and the mother of three. Jim Moore is the director of program at the Center for American Progress.