Parents increasingly opt out of vaccination because they believe vaccines cause autism. Most of the measles cases this year involve people who were unvaccinated, or unsure if they had been vaccinate. Two-thirds of the infected in the US were not vaccinated because of their parents' religious or philosophical beliefs. Such beliefs trigger an exemption to mandatory vaccination laws.
The rise in measles could be an unhealthy harbinger. When vaccination levels decrease, measles, an aggressively contagious disease, manifests itself before other illnesses. Scientific studies say vaccinations are safe, but many parents feel strongly about their connection to autism. Should these parents be allowed to follow their instincts and make an important parenting decision, or are they putting modern society at risk for a widespread disease thought to be eradicated?