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Solving MMR Vaccination Rates


A new article in the Journal of the American Medical Association was published last week, which estimated the number of measles cases in American children based on varying levels of what the authors refer to as “vaccine hesitancy.” This was defined as either a delay or refusal of vaccination based on personal beliefs.

The authors found that a 5% decrease in measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination would result in a 3-fold increase in measles and a 2.1 million dollar cost to the public sector. The authors suggest removal of nonmedical personal belief exemption for childhood vaccination may mitigate the risk posed by declining vaccination rates in the United States.

An April 2017 report from the C.D. Howe Institute, a not-for-profit Canadian research institute, found that Newfoundland and Labrador was the only province to achieve the 95% vaccination target for measles. The authors of the report suggest the best strategy to improve Canadian vaccination rates is to target those parents they classify as “fence-sitters,” who partially vaccinate their children due to “complacency, the costs associated with time off work and the effort both to access a provider and to assess vaccination-related benefits and risks.”

It will be interesting to see if either of the suggested tactics are adopted, and which will have a bigger impact on vaccination rates. Hopefully both countries can reach the 95% target soon!

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