Kind of a heady subject for a Saturday night, but I’ve been reading about new data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showing measles in the U.S. quadrupled in 2011. Recent outbreaks of pertussis, or whooping cough, in Montana, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin show just how vulnerable the population is to these, and other infectious diseases. It’s an even bigger problem in Western Europe, with over 30,000 cases per year.
I’ve posted several times (McCarthyism, No Big Whoop, There Is NO Scientific Evidence That Autism Is Caused By Vaccines. Yeah, I Said It., Epic Fail, Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine, Bachmann’s Slam Against HPV Vaccine Was Unnecessary And Untrue ) about my disdain for fear-mongerers who try to use false data to scare parents into shying away from immunizations.
The chief argument of those who are against vaccination basically boils down to “The population is highly vaccinated, why should I ‘risk’ harming my child by introducing chemicals into his body?” This position is so stupid I can barely rationally refute it without just giving up with a facepalm and headshake, embarrassed and frustrated by their ignorance. First of all, what risk? All the autism nonsense has been empirically debunked. Can we put that to rest already? Secondly, if you are advocating for non-vaccination, what is going to happen to that “highly vaccinated” population that you rely upon for protection? Thirdly, even if you are willing to allow your unvaccinated child to be exposed to a “minor” childhood disease, what if your child then passes it on to a member of a vulnerable population who can’t be vaccinated for health reasons, and who the idea of herd immunity is designed to protect? Infants, expectant mothers, the immuno-suppressed.
Read some of the recent articles about the alarming rise of diseases that were for all intents and purposes eradicated before 1998 when the questioning of vaccine safety became in vogue.
From The Boston Globe. CDC: 2011 was worst measles year in US in 15 years
From Scientific American. Herd Thinking
From ABC News. Washington State Hit Hard By Whooping Cough
From evidence-based science blogs. Surely You Can’t Be Serious: American Airlines to air AVN propaganda
From BBC News. WHO issues Europe measles warning
From The Guardian. Euro 2012: Ukraine advises visiting supporters to get measles jabs
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012