More than 90% of kids infected with measles in the Columbus area were unvaccinated, raising alarm as vaccination rates slip around the country.
A measles outbreak among dozens of unvaccinated children in Ohio has local health officials concerned about a deepening distrust of vaccines among some parents. With vaccination rates slipping around the country, more Americans are beginning to question the value of vaccine requirements for kids ― putting at risk a growing group of young children with no immunity to the virus.
Decades-old wariness of the measles vaccine ― based on well-funded false claims about a nonexistent link to autism ― has combined with the backlash against COVID vaccination rules and other pandemic-related hurdles to result in a slowdown in childhood vaccination rates.
Taken together, these factors increase the risk of outbreaks like the one in Ohio. There have been 82 diagnosed measles cases in the state, almost all in the Columbus area, and the vast majority in patients 5 years old or younger. Most of the cases have occurred in the past two months, leading to the hospitalization of 33 children, primarily for dehydration, diarrhea and pneumonia.