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With measles on the rise, why is Missouri lawmaker kowtowing to the anti-vaccine crowd?

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Some long-gone diseases are back, and the resurgence of measles in particular now poses a serious public health threat across the country. Yet the wacky, downright dangerous response of some Missouri lawmakers is to worry more about discrimination against unvaccinated children than about the legitimate risk that those kids pose to the whole community.

Yes, in Missouri, where you can still be fired for being gay, a lawmaker/pharmacist who’s been on probation for writing and filling false prescriptions for himself, his relatives, employees and even his dog, is leading the “anti-discrimination” charge on behalf of the unvaccinated.

As a pharmacist, “I’m not against vaccines,” said Rep. Lynn Morris, a Republican from Ozark. “I am for people having the right to choose what they want done to their children. Parents are getting bullied. They are being intimidated. I just don’t think that’s right.”

Now it’s bullying to point out the truth that what’s not right is risking a serious outbreak.

Morris also posited that the media is suppressing stories about vaccination-related injuries. “They hide it,” he said.

This is madness, and there is no vaccine for that.

A Missouri House committee has debated a proposal that would keep public schools, universities, day care centers and doctors from turning away a child with exemption from vaccinations for medical or religious reasons.

Anti-vaxxers exploit fear and pseudoscience. But vaccines do not cause autism: In March, a 10-year Danish study of 10,000 children confirmed the findings of a 2002 study that found no link.

Not getting vaccinated, though, is demonstrably dangerous: The measles can in rare instances kill especially very young children. And about 5% of children who get the measles will develop pneumonia, which can also be fatal.

Through April 4, 465 cases of the measles had been reported this year in 19 states including Missouri, where lawmakers should be trying to head off a health crisis instead of stoking it.

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