Toronto Mike

Vaccination Myths Compromise Herd Immunity

Vaccination Distrust and Herd Immunity Compromise

I blame Jenny McCarthy for carrying the erroneous torch and Oprah for giving her a pulpit.  Jenny McCarthy decided her son's autism was caused by vaccinations, buying into a paper by Andrew Wakefield that was based on manipulated data and fraudulent research.  She then preached this junk science on any show that would have her, including Oprah, whose influence is well documented here.

Since this 2008 celebrity pseudo science smorgasbord, I've met a few people who didn't believe in vaccinations or were convinced vaccinations cause autism.  I'm not referring to folks who don't believe in the flu shot, as there are plenty of them, but vaccinations for smallpox, polio, measles and the like.  I just had a debate with a staunch believer in the mythical dangers of vaccines that was akin to banging my head against a brick wall incessantly.

Hey Mike, why the passion?  The motivation is two-fold.

It's unfair to the children.  Parents who don't get their kids vaccinated are needlessly putting their kids in harm's way.  Those kids can't make the decision for themselves and it's grossly unfair to them.  I feel for the little stinkers.

Herd immunity is compromised.  Herd immunity is the foundation upon which I base my yearly flu shot plea.  It's a form of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity.  In other words, parents who do not get their children vaccinated put the entire neighbourhood's children at risk, not just their own.

Penn and Teller do a better job explaining why the anti-vaccination movement is bunk.

Parents: stop compromising herd immunity.  Thanks.

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