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The US is Reaching Tipping Point on Vaccines That Could Lead to Epidemics, FDA Chief Warns

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According to Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb, vaccines are the single most important thing we need to focus our attention on. In an interview with Business Insider, Gottlieb says, “you see complacency around some of the achievements that we’ve made, and declining willingness, or even confidence in, some of the products that have vanquished a lot of human illness.”

He is referring to the growing movement “anti-vaxxers” who blame the practice of medical vaccinations for a wide range of health problems. Anti-vaxxers refuse to vaccinate themselves and their children, out of fear of potential health complications or side effects caused by the vaccine. Often citing bogus science and inadmissible studies, anti-vaxxers are now shouldering the blame of disease outbreaks that are easily preventable with one of the greatest medical inventions of all time: the vaccine. Statistics show that complications are more likely to arise from illness than from vaccination.

Gottlieb warns that once people no longer accept vaccines or choose not to be vaccinated, “the implications could be quite profound.” He continues, “It’s not going to be a gradual evolution towards the resurgence of certain diseases that were once vanquished, it’s going to be all of a sudden, we’re going to see epidemics and maybe worse than that.” This year alone, we have already seen an outbreak of more than 300 cases of the measles, a disease that is easily preventable with the modern MMR vaccine.

The World Health Organization has gone as far as to add people’s reluctance to get vaccinated among the list of global public health threats this year, right alongside things like climate change, cancer, and HIV. In the United States, there are no federal laws compelling people to get vaccinated. However, this is lefts up to the states, where it is often required that children get vaccinated before going to school. There are ways to get around this though, with states allowing exemptions for medical, religious, and philosophical reasons.

While retiring in a little over a month, Gottlieb says we need to begin considering implementing tighter regulations on vaccinations, or we may begin to see more of these easily preventable outbreaks.

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