Low Vaccination Rates in the United States and the Outbreaks They Cause

Even though vaccines have been proven to be effective in the prevention of disease, many people choose not to get vaccinated. This contributes to large outbreaks of preventable diseases each year. I want to understand why people choose not to get vaccinated and what can be done to prevent outbreaks of preventable diseases in the future. Through this research project, I hope to learn why many people in the United States choose not to get vaccinated and how this affects disease outbreaks today. I will be specifically focusing on the measles vaccine as many people choose not to get this vaccine due to concerns that the vaccine causes Autism. Even though measles was declared to be eradicated from the United States in 2000 thanks to the widespread success of the measles vaccine, outbreaks still occur today. I also plan to research the varicella vaccine for chickenpox and recent chickenpox outbreaks in communities and schools with low varicella vaccination rates. I want to understand why people risk contracting a deadly disease when there is an extremely effective vaccine for it. I will be specifically focusing on different groups in the United States such as Orthodox Jews, Somali Muslims, and families at schools where outbreaks are common, such as the Waldorf Schools. In addition, I will be looking at state laws that require vaccination and the effects that these laws have had on vaccination rates and disease outbreaks in their respective states. As of February 2019, California, West Virginia, and Mississippi only allow medical exemptions for vaccinations. All other states allow either religious or philosophical exemptions to vaccination in addition to medical exemptions, leading to lower overall vaccination rates in those states. I want to explore the effectiveness of these laws in preventing disease outbreaks and raising vaccination rates.