In the wake of increasing re-emergence of diseases that can be prevented with vaccines, the American Medical Association (AMA) recently called on states to issue more stringent immunization requirements that would limit vaccine exemptions to medical reasons only.
Research has shown that vaccination programs have been effective in preventing such epidemic diseases as measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox, polio and diphtheria, but current vaccination requirements vary by state. Only two states have refused to accept non-medical exemptions that are solely based on personal beliefs.
"When people are immunized, they also help prevent the spread of disease to others," Dr. Patrice A. Harris, AMA board member, said during the group's annual meeting. "As evident from the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland, protecting community health in today's mobile society requires that policymakers not permit individuals from opting out of immunization solely as a matter of personal preference or convenience."
AMA members also voted to approve a policy that recommends all states have an established decision mechanisms in place, which includes public health physicians, to help determine which vaccines will be mandatory.