Stanford researchers warn measles could spread as vaccination rates decline

Pharmacist Jenny G (did not want to give last name, administers a MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) to a man who did not want to be photographed at Walgreens in San Jose, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
A pharmacist administers an MMR vaccine to a man at a Walgreens in San Jose, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015.

As vaccination coverage declines in states that let people opt out of immunizations for personal beliefs, researchers from Stanford University warn there could be serious consequences ahead.

In a new study, scholars at Stanford’s School of Medicine and the Baylor College of Medicine find that slight declines in childhood measles vaccinations would cause disproportionately big increases in measles cases and public health costs. According to the study, published this week in JAMA Pediatrics, if just 5 percent fewer children in the 2-11 age range were inoculated against the measles, mumps and rubella (the MMR vaccine), the number of annual measles cases among that group would triple. That would raise public health costs by at least $2.1 million a year, according to…