Summary: Low Vaccination Rates in the United States and the Outbreaks they Cause

Since I summarized my final paper in my last post, I am going to use this post to discuss the key takeaways I learned from this project. I researched the reasons for low vaccination rates in the United States and the outbreaks they cause. I decided to specifically focus on measles, as low MMR vaccination rates and measles outbreaks have been a major problem recently. The most interesting and important thing I learned from this project was that the majority of the time, people are not vaccinated due to missed opportunities and a lack of access to vaccines. I knew this was a reason some people were not vaccinated, but I was shocked to find out how much of a problem this really is. The vast majority of people are unvaccinated due to missed opportunities and a lack of access to vaccines, not safety concerns or other objections. There is no reason outbreaks should occur in the United States due to a lack of access to vaccines and missed opportunities to vaccinate. Efforts should be made by public health officials to ensure that everyone has access to vaccination in order to prevent future measles outbreaks.

In addition, it is also important to note that the majority of the time, measles outbreaks occur in tight-knit communities with low vaccination rates. Since these communities often have low vaccination rates, measles is easily transmitted and an outbreak can occur. It is important to work with leaders in these communities in order to encourage vaccination. Every community has different needs, and it is necessary to recognize those needs and tailor public health efforts in order to fit them.

Lastly, vaccine education is essential in the prevention of future measles outbreaks. Discussing the benefits of vaccines and their role in the prevention of diseases such as measles is extremely important. Many people do not understand the importance of vaccination and therefore choose not to vaccinate. Discussing vaccination at primary care appointments and providing educational materials to expecting parents is crucial to raising the MMR vaccination rate in the United States.

I am so thankful I was able to do this project this summer and I learned a lot. This project allowed me to understand the true importance of public health in the prevention of disease. I hope to continue learning about vaccination in the United States in the future. With continued public health efforts to encourage vaccination in the United States, hopefully measles outbreaks will no longer occur in the United States.


  1. Annemarie Wolf says:

    This project was really interesting to follow! I know that I personally used to think that many people in the United States who weren’t vaccinated had refused vaccinations because of misguided convictions that vaccines could be harmful, and not simply because of lack of access and information. I hear about people travelling to developing countries with groups such as Doctors Without Borders to bring vaccines to people around the world, but your project has made me realize that some of the same problems occur right at home!

    You helped me realize the dangers of assumption, since I had been assuming way too much about people not getting vaccines without doing any of the research to confirm my assumptions. Especially when I have always been lucky enough to get vaccines, it’s easy to forget that not everyone has the same circumstances as I do. Your project reinforces how important public health campaigns are to the safety of everyone in the US and by extension, around the world, something that has not been at the forefront of my mind as an issue until now. Thank you for highlighting such a vital issue for me!