In Minnesota, the vast majority of children under age 2 get vaccinated against measles. But state health officials said most Somali-American 2-year-olds have not had the vaccine, about 6 out of 10. As the outbreak spreads, that statistic worries health officials, including Michael Osterholm, the director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.
“It is a highly concentrated number of unvaccinated people,” he said. “It is a potential kind of gas-and-match situation.”
…Somali community leaders are in lockstep with the Minnesota Department of Health, trying to knock down the pseudoscience behind the myth that vaccines can lead to autism. But others are not, even as the outbreak spreads.
A weekend meeting in Minneapolis organized by anti-vaccine groups attracted dozens of Somali-Americans. Some shouted down physicians, including pediatrician Stacene Maroushek, who showed up to try to convince them vaccinations are critical to their community.
“We know if there’s less than a certain rate of vaccine, the virus is much more likely to spread,” she said. “That’s a scientific fact” [Mark Zdechlik, “Unfounded Autism Fears Are Fueling Minnesota’s Measles Outbreak,” MPR News, 2017.05.03].
Vaccines are good for all Americans, new and old. Get your shots.