Thursday, May 7, 2009

Diseases Coming Back, Thanks to Anti-Vaxers

From Little Green Footballs (The headlong flight from reason and the modern world continues!)
The Wall Street Journal has an article about a report from the Centers for Disease Control warning about new outbreaks of diseases thought to be eradicated—due to parents who are buying into the anti-vaccination craziness promoted by people like Jenny McCarthy: Fear of Vaccines Spurs Outbreaks, Study Says.
Parental doubts about the safety of childhood vaccinations are leading to outbreaks of largely eradicated diseases like measles and whooping cough, doctors warned in a new report.
A U.S. measles outbreak last year — almost exclusively among unvaccinated people — has sparked concern about places where many parents opt out of having their children vaccinated.
In Ashland, Ore., more than a quarter of kindergartners aren’t vaccinated, leading the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to hold a town-hall meeting on vaccination there earlier this year. ...
Too many abstainers can put a town at risk, wrote Dr. Saad Omer, of Emory University in Atlanta, the lead author in the report in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine.
“People need to recognize that in the case of infectious diseases, what other people do impacts my child,” Dr. Omer said in an interview. “If they live in a community that has a cluster of refusers, their risk of getting a vaccine-preventable disease goes up, just by virtue of who they play with.”
Vaccines for diseases like whooping cough aren’t 100% effective for each individual, and some children can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons. That means that eradicating a disease requires vaccinating a large percentage of the nearby population to stop infections from spreading — what’s called “herd immunity.”
Schools with many abstainers have been linked to outbreaks.
There are actually schools that accept children who haven’t been vaccinated?
And by the way, in addition to being a shill for “intelligent design” creationism, Republican Tom Tancredo is also an anti-vaccination kook:
A woman asked Tancredo, “What do you think of autism in this country?” She has a 4-year-old with autism. Tancredo said, “I think much of it is due to the number of shots we give to kids . . .” They talked about mercury in vaccines’ preservatives.
UPDATE at 5/7/09 10:32:34 am:
And if you haven’t heard already, Oprah Winfrey is now promoting the anti-vaccination kooks too, by giving a talk show to Jenny McCarthy: Why is Oprah Winfrey promoting vaccine skeptic Jenny McCarthy?
UPDATE at 5/7/09 10:41:35 am:
And to make things even worse, support for anti-vaccination insanity is now beginning to show up in GOP state platforms; from the Oklahoma platform:
5. We support the right of parents to apply for exemptions for their children from school vaccinations requirements for medical reasons, religious reasons, or other reasons of conscience.

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