Measles outbreak controversy exposes vaccines not required for most US teachers

Most US states do not require school teachers and staff to be vaccinated

Payton Guion
Monday 16 February 2015 21:10

All US states require children to be vaccinated before they can attend public school – even if the requirement is fairly easy to circumvent – but the majority of school teachers and staff have no vaccination requirements before starting work.

A measles outbreak in the western US has flamed a smouldering debate over getting children vaccinated, but an Associated Press report claims that the lack of vaccination requirements for teachers and staff potentially could be troubling.

A lack of vaccinations has led to 121 measles cases across 17 US states since it began in December at Disneyland in California, according to the latest data from the Centres for Disease Control. Measles was eliminated from the US in 2000 - elimination meaning that the country went without continuous transmission for 12 months.

The debate emerging from the measles outbreak mainly has focused on getting children vaccinated and quickly became politicised when officials on both sides of the aisle jumped into the issue. But the lack of requirements for teacher and staff vaccination is troubling because reports say the majority of those who recently have contracted the disease in the US are adults who likely contracted it at school.

Some states – including Colorado and Vermont – are considering legislation requiring educators to be up to date on vaccinations, but they face strong opposition from the anti-vaccination camp in the US. Those who oppose vaccines say they can cause developmental disorders, such as autism.

“I will be surprised if we don't see some changes in the next year to year and a half,“ Kristen Amundson, executive director of the National Association of School Boards of Education, told the AP.

Follow Payton Guion on Twitter @PaytonGuion.

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