In response to the New York City measles outbreak, Rockland County, NY has issued an order banning those diagnosed or exposed to measles from all places of public assembly. Over 550 confirmed national cases, including 186 in Rockland and 329 in NYC, have been reported this year. This marks the second largest outbreak since 2000, the first being in 2014 (667 cases) . CDC officials report that the outbreaks have been associated with Orthodox Jewish communities and other travelers returning from Israel. The vaccination rate for children in Rockland is only 72%, much lower than the 90% recommended for herd immunity to be effective.
We have covered the importance of herd immunity in class, and the dangers of an unvaccinated populace exposed to a pathogen like the measles virus.
Though many of the Health-tagged stories on NPR have an obvious political slant, this one’s information is surprisingly clear-cut. It explains the rising toll of the infection, the cause, and the societal consequences, maintaining all this within the context of the infection.
How can the public be better informed about the benefits of vaccination and the need to take protective measures against pathogens, without victim blaming, ad hominem intelligence insults, or appealing to the cult of scientism (which would further alienate those hesitant to get vaccinated)?