Until I finished Seth Mnookin’s book, The Panic Virus, it never occurred to me that all of the autism community could face backlash in the future if the anti-vaccine movement continues to take its toll.
I don’t blame vaccines for autism. Scientists have been looking for connections for years and they haven’t found any. Autism rates are continuing to rise even though they removed the mercury preservative from vaccines years ago. And, the study that supposedly linked autism to the MMR vaccine was compromised. (That’s the short version of the science, for the exhaustive, researched version, reach for Mnookin’s book.) It’s distressing that people who should know better, and people in positions of trust, promote parent choice to withhold vaccines as somehow cautious and thoughtful.
This week, we learned of a serious local outbreak of the measles traced to the members of a church that holds an anti-vaccine position.
You wouldn’t take your child to the doctor and then not follow the treatment protocol. That would be heartless and irresponsible. Some people get as mad as a bumped bed of fire ants thinking about changes that could come because of the Affordable Care Act — mercy, you might have to wait for care, or be denied a high-cost treatment option in favor of something less expensive. But somehow you want a choice now, passing on a well-established protocol that prevents some of childhood’s killer diseases? That’s irrational, and irresponsible.
How irresponsible? Derek Bartholomaus keeps a body count.