Public health officials at a congressional hearing on Tuesday implored parents to vaccinate their children against the measles.
Despite the recently politicized topic of measles vaccinations, its benefits far outweighed any conceivable costs, officials from U.S. health organizations told the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
"There's no doubt if you do a risk benefit of the vaccine versus the disease, I think it's very, very clear that you have one of the most highly effective vaccines against any virus, and you have a highly contagious disease, measles, that can have serious complications," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
"So to me it's really a slam-dunk what the decision should be," Fauci said, reflecting on parents' vaccination considerations.
And while disease infections are far less prevalent now than 40 years ago, officials had declared the U.S. free of the virus at the beginning of the millennium. This year, there have already been more than 100 recorded cases, and officials attributed this resurgence to a lack of vaccinations.
"I think that parents' decisions to vaccinate their kids are related to their sense of the threat and their sense of the value of the intervention," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, who directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "Many parents don't realize these diseases are still out there and if their children aren't vaccinated they'll come back."