In many parts of the country, vaccine refusals are rising because states have made it much easier for parents to opt out, notes Julia Belluz, while vaccine skeptics have grown far more successful at persuading parents to refuse shots for their children.
Since his win, President Trump has courted well-known anti-vaccine proponents like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Robert De Niro and energized the anti-vaccine movement and that, says Belluz, is very dangerous given the fact that even a 5 percent reduction in the number of Americans, particularly children, receiving vaccines could spark a significant measles outbreak.
“Most American children still get their shots. More than 90 percent of kids receive vaccines for polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, and chickenpox, though the coverage rates are slightly lower for other routine vaccines,” Belluz says.
While most hard-core anti-vaxers are in the minority, says David Gorski, a surgeon who tracks the movement, wrote in a recent blog post, “they have an outsized influence on reasonable parents who just don’t have the scientific background to recognize their misinformation and pseudoscience for what they are, contributing to vaccine hesitancy.”