More than 500 people across the country, mostly small children, have been infected by the super contagious measles virus in ongoing outbreaks since January.
In New York, the virus has been spreading since September among Orthodox Jews, some of whom reject vaccines because of unfounded safety concerns. In Washington, mistrust of health officials and pharmaceutical companies appears to be driving parents to opt out. There are also measles clusters in New Jersey, Michigan, and California.
These outbreaks will cost states and the federal government millions of dollars to contain. They’ll distract from other important public health programs. Most importantly, they’ll put people who can’t be immunized — newborn babies, kids with vaccine allergies — at risk.