The parents who are against vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella and other childhood diseases have proven a point – and it’s a scary one. They are no longer just putting their own kids at risk. By taking their unvaccinated children to the happiest place on earth and touching off a measles outbreak at Disneyland, the anti-vaxxers put hundreds of other children in jeopardy, too.
Measles on this level hasn’t been seen in the States since the 1970s. So far, the disease has spread to 11 states and Mexico, infecting about 70 people in less than a month. Also making a comeback: whooping cough and diphtheria. . . .
It’s all about fashionable philosophy, not changes in medicine.
The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine wigs out some parents because about a decade ago, people started to claim a link between immunization and autism, fueled by the studies of a now-disgraced British doctor, Andrew Wakefield. Problem was, study after study refuted Wakefield’s autism research. And in 2011, the British medical establishment withdrew its endorsement of Wakefield’s study and labeled his data bogus. . . .
When I interviewed health officials in 2011, when the anti-vaxxer movement began to take hold, they said people like McCarthy were the bane of their education programs.
One health-policy professor joked that they would have to compete with something like “CDC Barbie.”
There are few cases in which doctors have decided that a child would not do well medically by being immunized. . . .
But in thousands of schools nationwide, a third category has been added – a “philosophical” exemption for children from the vaccination requirement. The parents of about 3 percent of children in the United States have claimed that exemption, declaring themselves opposed to vaccinations.
An additional 7 or 8 percent are disorganized, do-nothing parents who would rather take the easy out than go through the pain and effort of appointments, needle-sticks and paperwork. So about 10 percent of U.S. schoolchildren aren’t vaccinated against the diseases that once killed millions. . . .
Now the problem gets to the part where you bring up that quote about your rights ending where mine begin.
Whatever wackadoodle philosophy you might be embracing today – frutarianism or Bokononism – is cool as long as it doesn’t hurt those around you, right?
Refusing to immunize puts the rest of us at risk. And unless there is sound science and the guidance of a good doctor, it’s a pretty bogus way to hedge a bet in that game of parenting roulette. . . .
The anti-vaxxer movement is being fueled by parents who refuse to trust government, big pharma, family physicians and decades of sound science.
What about these non-vaccinating parents? Why don’t’ we hear from them? What about all the parents whose children were perfectly healthy until they were vaccinated?
Couldn’t the Washington Post interview any of the INDEPENDENT doctors and scientists who do see a serious problem with our ever-expanding vaccine schedule?
It seems the Post wasn’t interested. Parents! You need to investigate this critical issue for yourselves.
Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism