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More vaccines, less disease. More vaccines, more lives saved.

That’s been the case throughout history, and it’s still true today.

Proving the point this time, surprisingly, is a recent wave of anti-vaccination sentiment, which experts link to an increase in the number of whooping cough cases in Wyoming and an increase in the number of measles cases in the United States. That disease was considered eradicated in the nation in 2000 but since has made a resurgence, and experts say that’s directly linked to the anti-vaccination movement.

Parents who won’t vaccinate their children are simply irresponsible. They put their own families at risk, and they knowingly risk the lives of other children, too. We call on parents to do the right thing, the sensible thing, the loving thing, and reject the anti-vaccination movement.

There’s no medical evidence that avoiding vaccinations is good for children, and there’s certainly no compelling medical evidence that it is linked to autism, which is some parents’ biggest objection. Autism can be a devastating mystery, and it might seem comforting to blame something. But experts don’t know what causes autism, and all the evidence shows that common-sense vaccinations are not the culprit.

It’s important to note that the vast majority of children in Wyoming are properly vaccinated before they start school, and we commend their families for that. But just one unvaccinated child puts others at risk, whether that’s in the classroom or the emergency room.

Some doctors won’t even treat unvaccinated children. The waiting room situation is just too fraught with risk. Parents who wisely vaccinate might think twice about taking their children to a place where they’d be at increased risk.

What’s fueling the anti-vaccination trend? Some in the medical field suspect it’s that these parents, many of whom are young, aren’t appropriately concerned about the effects of these diseases. Measles, meningitis, whooping cough – these can all be truly scary. They can be lethal, and they can leave bodies and families ravaged for life. Some objectors also say they’re afraid of the long-term effects. The only proven long-term effect, however, is survival.

Throughout history, it’s hard to imagine that worried, devoted parents who might be all too acquainted with these illnesses would reject proven vaccines that could keep their children safe. Our past is full of darker eras where people lived in fear and these diseases, which are now preventable, were all-powerful.

Please don’t let this become another one.

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