Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar April 24 issued the following statement regarding the current measles outbreaks around the United States:
“The United States is seeing a resurgence of measles, a disease that had once been effectively eliminated from our country. And today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that ongoing measles outbreaks in 22 states has led to the highest number of cases reported nationwide since the disease was declared eliminated in this country in 2000. Measles is not a harmless childhood illness, but a highly contagious, potentially life-threatening disease. We have the ability to safely protect our children and our communities. Vaccines are a safe, highly effective public health solution that can prevent this disease. The measles vaccines are among the most extensively studied medical products we have, and their safety has been firmly established over many years in some of the largest vaccine studies ever undertaken.”
In a press release, Azar continued, “With a safe and effective vaccine that protects against measles, the suffering we are seeing is avoidable. The CDC is ready to support public health departments in monitoring and responding to outbreaks, and will continue to receive, review and compile the latest reports of measles cases.
“All Americans would be safer and healthier if we received measles vaccines on the recommended schedule.” This week the CDC is using the opportunity to educate people on the importance of vaccines, he said, “as we mark National Infant Immunization Week. The Department of Health and Human Services will undertake a comprehensive campaign to reinforce the message that vaccines are safe and effective ways to protect your children, your family, yourself, and your neighbors.”