A recent analysis suggests that intentionally unvaccinated or undervaccinated people may correlate with the measles cases and certain pertussis outbreaks, as turning down vaccines showed a connection with a higher risk for developing the two diseases.
The analysis, available in the Journal of the American Medical Association, cites data from several recent studies about the measles and pertussis outbreaks. There have been several outbreaks of these vaccine-preventable illnesses within the U.S., encouraging the public as well as health officials to focus on vaccination.
"This review has broad implications for vaccine practice and policy,” the authors wrote. “For instance, fundamental to the strength and legitimacy of justifications to override parental decisions to refuse a vaccine for their child is a clear demonstration that the risks and harms to the child of remaining unimmunized are substantial."
The analysts looked at information from 18 published studies about measles and 32 published studies about pertussis. These included 1,417 measles cases and 10,609 pertussis cases.
"Central to any justification to restrict individual freedom by mandating vaccines to prevent harm to others is an understanding of the nature and magnitude of these risks and harms," the authors wrote. "However, the risks of vaccine refusal remain imperfectly defined, and the association between vaccine refusal and vaccine-preventable diseases may be both population- and disease-specific.”