On Monday morning, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham said she doesn't think measles is "that big of a deal," defending New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's remarks that it should be the parents' choice whether or not to vaccinate their kids. The remarks were made in the wake of a measles outbreak which began in Anaheim, Calif.'s Disneyland, and has infected 84 people in 14 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Measles is fairly manageable... Measles is not generally a deadly disease. I'm not saying anyone wants to get measles but I know a bunch of kids in our school growing up had measles, and chicken pox, measles. I mean we just got this! It wasn't a big end of the world... I mean we're making it out to be this big deal. I just don't think it's that big of a deal."
The thing is that measles can be serious -- extremely serious -- especially if the infected person has a compromised immune system. According to the CDC, 28 percent of children under the age of five who contracted measles from 2001-2013 had to be treated in the hospital. The CDC also notes that measles can lead to pneumonia, permanent brain damage, deafness and death.
Measles is only not "that big of a deal" for children and adults with healthy immune systems -- those who can actually handle having the vaccination to protect those who are too young or whose immune systems are too weak to get the vaccination. To argue otherwise is to display extreme shortsightedness and a lack of concern for those who need it most.