Posted in medicine, science

Please don’t politicize vaccine refusal

The writer is right. Vaccine refusal is about personal choice. Unfortunately that personal choice directly affects a vulnerable child and other vulnerable children in the population. This isn’t about politics. It’s about Science and Medicine. I will admit that medicine has done a crappy job of explaining Science to the Public. It’s also done a really shitty job of explaining why Scientists sometimes get it all so terribly wrong. But this, Vaccines, is important. And we aren’t wrong about this. Do We even get Vaccines right all the time? nope. Look at this year’s flu vaccine. Obviously didn’t do a good job in predicting the strains. But predicting the flu strain for this year is like trying to count cards in Vegas. Sometimes you get it right and you win big money. Sometimes you get it wrong and you get kicked out on your ass. The rotavirus vaccine is another example. The intention was good. Unfortunately Mother Nature outsmarted us. So we learned and now we’ve got a good working vaccine with lower chances of intussusception, but we still keep a very stern eye on it. And as a result, the number of children suffering from crippling watery dehydrating diarrhea has dropped dramatically. We’ve almost wiped out Polio. So why place so much faith on this One Lie told by an Unethical Scientist and risk the lives of your children? Vaccinate your children. Don’t turn this into a political debate. Because it’s not. It’s Science.

Violent metaphors

Given recent measles outbreaks and the ravenous news cycle, it was inevitable that public attention would shift to politicians’ position on vaccination. Some commenters are reacting by politicizing the vaccine debate, painting conservatives or the tea party (or, in response to those messages, liberals) as anti-vaccine. Please don’t let this message take hold. It’s wrong, it’s dangerous, and it’s counterproductive.

The president set off a small chain reaction by advising parents to vaccinate, but Governor Chris Christie’s comments have drawn the most attention. His statement was almost meaningless; he told reporters that (of course) he vaccinated his own children, and “that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well so that’s the balance that the government has to decide.” Vaccination is not strictly mandatory in any state, and most states permit exemptions for the few parents who have ideological objections to modern medicine, so as…

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