Communities in Canada are experiencing huge outbreaks of the measles, a completely preventable and highly contagious infection. The reason that the measles seems to be spreading across the country seems to be due to the fact that Canadian public schools do not require their students to have all of their vaccines and immunizations. The immunization rate of British Columbia is around 65% in schools, while the country as a whole averages 85%, still 10 percent less than the minimum needed to prevent harmful diseases.
One of the reasons that parents reject safe, protective immunizations is because they believe that they can cause autism. This idea stems from a 1998 article published in the British medical journal The Lancet,which claimed that a link had been uncovered between the measles/mumps vaccine and autism. The report was then backed by endorsements by celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, and created a steep decline in immunization rates worldwide. Countless studies have been conducted since that have proved that immunizing children does not lead to autism development in later years.
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