A new study found that a small decline in children's measles vaccinations could cause a major increase in annual infections — and that could cost health care facilities millions of dollars.
Researchers estimate that just a 5 percent decrease in the number of vaccinated kids ages 2-11 could result in the number of annual measles cases tripling to around 150.
And that would force public health institutions to spend an additional $2.1 million caring for the sick.
The study was prompted by a decline in the rate of U.S. measles vaccinations, likely due to a belief that the shots can cause autism. There's no credible evidence to support that belief.
The author of the study emphasized to The Guardian that "the scientific evidence is very clear, abundantly clear, that these vaccines are safe — there is no relationship with autism."
According to that study, if measles vaccination rates ever fall below 90 percent, it will threaten "herd immunity." That's when people who aren't vaccinated are still somewhat protected from the disease because so many others are.