By ALEXANDER WILLIS
Senator Marsha Blackburn announced on Thursday during a conference call that she, along with Democratic Senator from Illinois Tammy Duckworth, are currently working on a resolution that would “highlight the importance of vaccinations,” encouraging parents to talk with their health care provider about their benefits.
The resolution comes in the wake of recent measles outbreaks across the country, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) attributes to both travelers bringing the disease from abroad, and “communities with pockets of unvaccinated people.”
According to the CDC, in 2018 there were 372 cases of measles reported in the United States, the highest number since 2014, and before that, 1996. As of February 28 of this year, there have already been 206 reported cases, on track to surpass 2018 if a similar pace continues.
“This is something we’re working on with Senator Duckworth, and it is just to highlight the importance of vaccinations, and encourage parents to talk to their physicians and look at scientific research as they make certain that they are doing the best for their child,” Blackburn said. “We know that there’s a lot of information, a lot of misinformation, and we think it’s important to highlight the importance of getting the data and talking with your health care providers as you make those choices.”
Williamson County is no stranger to low vaccine numbers, with its school district having the single highest percentage of students in the state entering schools with requested immunization exemptions for religious reasons.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) states that measles is “one of the most contagious diseases there is,” and that nine out of ten people who are unvaccinated who come into contact with an infected person, will contract the infection. Vaccines that can protect against measles infection include the MMR and MMRV vaccines.