Scary statistic: only 42% of 29-45 year olds believe it’s important to vaccinate children against contagious diseases (like measles). Are we heading to a new era of high levels of communicable diseases because of this blockheaded, willful ignorance?
Ironically, many of those on the idiot, anti-science side of this “debate” (and I use the word advisedly, and with great sarcasm) would call out those who disregard climate change as anti-science idiots. In other words, people on the left.
But anti-science idiocy, apparently knows no political affiliation, afflicting the right and the left. And, interestingly, the vaccination controversy really knows few political bounds. Willful ignorance is an equal opportunity ailment, applicable to the left and right.
On one hand, the anti-vaccination movements seems to run strongest in places like California and Washington State, where parents are often hyper-aware of all “bad stuff” that might hurt their children. On the other, other hand, an awful lot in the anti-vaccination camp sound like anti-government conspiracy theorists who listen to pray at the altar of Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Bachmann (who believes that the HPV vaccine causes mental illness).
(Full disclosure: I get the Earth Mother attitude. I was one of them myself, back in the day. And my own daughter, the mother of a year-old baby uses natural diapers, and is the epitome–in the very best sense of the word–of attachment parenting. And yes, my grandson is vaccinated!)
There is no real science to support the anti-vaccination “side” in this pseduo non-debate, and even the original, oft-quoted paper 1998 by Dr. Alexander Wakefield connecting vaccination and autism has long-since been discredited. Part of me (okay, a large part of me) wants to lump the idiots in the anti-vaccination camp in with the climate-change deniers, because their non-science is just as idiotic. Think about it: the climate deniers are are going with the three percent–if that–of scientists who believe there is still a climate debate to be had. The anti-vaccination crowd? According to a recent TIME article, 92% of doctors believe that this latest measles outbreak is due to parents no longer vaccinating their kids.
I grew up during a time when kids were vaccinated. No question. My mom didn’t want me to get smallpox or polio, measles or any other disease for which there was a way to prevent it. Everyone got vaccinated–and those diseases went away in this country. The vaccinations were to protect us, but also about eradicating diseases that were debilitating and sometimes fatal. Let’s hear it for the public good!
When I had my own children, yuppie Earth mom that I was, I read the studies to understand the science of herd immunity, the potential side effects of the vaccinations and the benefits of vaccinating my kids against nasty, sometimes deadly, communicable diseases. And I gladly had them vaccinated.
When my kids started kindergarten or went away to camp (or on summer high school programs), and when they began college, each institution required proof of current vaccinations. And I think that should not change. And although all these latter-day hippy moms (and those on the other side of the political spectrum who might be opposed to vaccinations because it’s some sort of government plot to take away our freedoms) ignorantly choose not to vaccinate their children against diseases that can affect my grandchildren someday, I believe that schools, camps, special programs can choose to insist on vaccinations as prerequisite for attendance. And if your kid can’t go to the preschool, elementary school, camp or college of your choice? Oh well. Choice is a bitch.
You want to choose to not have your kid vaccinated. Fine. That may (or may not) be your right. But it’s the public’s right to stay healthy and not be afflicted with preventable diseases. We have enough to worry about with Ebola and God-knows-what-other diseases lurk just beyond our borders and beyond our time. And in the words of visionary writer Kurt Vonnegut, “‘Nuff said.”[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B000IL5FUQ,124045032X,B00I44O1EU,B006UK9HCG]