In the wake of recent measles outbreaks, pollsters have noticed a trend: Younger Americans are considerably less convinced of vaccines’ safety, less likely to see the vaccination issue as a matter of public health and less inclined to support mandatory vaccinations for childhood diseases.
One theory for this divide holds that vaccines are, in a way, a victim of their own success. Since the measles vaccine became widespread more than 50 years ago, younger Americans are far less likely to have had any personal experience with the disease.
“We do have … really a generation that has not seen these diseases,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a January press briefing.
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