CHICAGO - Building on the AMA's efforts to protect the public against vaccine-preventable diseases, the AMA adopted policy during its Annual meeting to expand its existing policy to actively advocate for legislation, regulations, programs and policies that incentivize states to eliminate non-medical exemptions from mandated pediatric immunizations.
"Getting vaccinated not only keeps individuals from becoming ill with vaccine-preventable diseases, such as the measles, but also helps prevent further spread to loved ones, neighbors, co-workers and others in close contact," said AMA Board Member E. Scott Ferguson, M.D. "As evident from the measles outbreaks currently impacting communities in several states, when individuals are not immunized as a matter of personal preference or misinformation, they put themselves and others at risk of disease. The AMA strongly supports efforts to eliminate non-medical exemptions from immunization, and we will continue to actively urge policymakers to do so."
The overwhelming scientific evidence shows that vaccines are among the most effective and safest interventions to both prevent individual illness and protect the health of the public. The AMA has long-supported eliminating all non-medical exemptions from required childhood vaccines and provided testimony on legislation in several states, including Arizona, Maine, Oregon and Washington.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. currently has the highest number of measles cases that the country has seen since the disease was considered eradicated. In fact, there have been more cases of measles in the first five months of 2019 than all of 1992, the last year that the U.S. experienced a major outbreak.