People spout off uninformed opinions every day. As an opinion columnist, I’m sure I’ve done it numerous times. But hopefully, my effect is minimal. At best you can take my ramblings as angry rants. At worst, I’ve steered you toward a slice of pizza you might quibble with being the best.
But I’m not threatening the health and welfare of thousands of people. Somebody should tell that to the anti-vaxxers. You know, those are the people who have shunned vaccinations based on hearsay from medical quacks or from former Playboy Playmate Jenny McCarthy. Take your pick on which is a worse resource.
Despite no credible research to show that vaccinations have resulted in a higher risk or autism or other maladies, the anti-vaxxers have decided to have an impact on the rest of public health. Measles is a virus that had been virtually eradicated in developed countries. But it is making a comeback, not because of a mutant strain or resistance to antibodies. It is making a comeback because of people who intentionally put themselves and others at risk based on unfounded fears.
Imagine taking a family vacation to an adventure park and having a child too young to receive vaccinations come down with a deadly malady? You don’t have to imagine if you’ve been to Disneyland recently. The intentionally unvaccinated helped fuel a measles outbreak that ended up getting a lot of people sick who follow the rules.
I’m not one who favors mandates of any kind, but if you are going to become a public hazard, you should have to prove a valid reason why you’ve decided to buck proven science. Call it being idiotic until proven smart. You shouldn’t be able to refuse vaccinations based on some white paper from the Republic of Elbonia and information gleaned from some conspiracy-based websites. You shouldn’t put the public at risk based on some loopy blonde who has made a living baring more skin than actual medical knowledge. What’s next, a top-rated TV show featuring Dr. Kardashian?
Ironically, people freak out over the possible spread of Ebola, even though that virus is difficult to transmit and usually doesn’t involve recklessness and yet a measles outbreak is much more likely and spreads much more easily. Especially when the medically ignorant play such a big part.
You can reach Scott at email@example.com to question Dr. McCarthy’s credentials.