Please, vaccinate

An outbreak of measles in Michigan has state officials concerned, and rightly so.

As of midweek this week, 34 confirmed cases have been noted this year, the highest level since 1991. Of the cases, 33 have been in Oakland County and one in Wayne County.

Officials with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services urge everyone to get vaccinated, but, particularly, they urge parents of children to get their sons and daughters immunized.

According to a DHHS news release, “the measles vaccine is highly effective and very safe. A single dose of measles vaccine protects about 95 percent of children, but after two doses, almost 100 percent are immune.”

We understand the arguments some parents have about vaccinations, and we respect those arguments. But, in situations like this, where measles is being spread so quickly in a concentrated geographical area, to put unvaccinated children at risk is a dangerous gamble.

In the U.S. this year, already there have been 387 measles cases reported in 15 states. That is the second-highest number of confirmed cases in two decades.

Measles are highly contagious. A New York Times story this week quoted statistics from the U.N. saying that, in 2001, the organization made the eradication of measles worldwide a main objective. And there was success, as between 2000 and 2016, measles cases declined 80 percent worldwide.

However, two years ago, cases of measles rose significantly again, up 30 percent in just one year and the virus showed up again in countries where it had been eliminated.

Officials now believe the only way to prevent the disease from spreading is immunization.

We urge parents: Do not risk not only their own family’s health, but also everyone’s health. Get immunized.