Some background: Right now (2014) there is a Measles outbreak in NYC with 25 reported cases in the past 6 months. Whooping cough (pertussis) is also making a comeback. These diseases are highly contagious and fatal to children and the elderly.
Did you know that the Center of Disease Control recommends 49 doses of 14 different vaccines for children between the ages of 0-6 yrs? Did you know that these doses contain toxic chemicals like ether, antifreeze, neomycin, and mercury? That’s right, the government actually suggests that you inject 49 doses of carcinogenic neurotoxins & other toxic chemicals into your innocent child’s bloodstream without his/her consent! You have the power to stop this horrible practice. All you have to do is say no! Say NO to Pharmaceutical Medicine! Say NO to Vaccines!
Ok, take a breath. That’s how easy it is to fear-monger. The information you just read is grossly misleading and untrue. It is written with the intent of promoting fear and uncertainty. This is what the Anti-Vaccination movement does. It is true that total diagnoses for autism have risen 30% in the past two years. We honestly don’t know how or why that is. In the absence of an explanation, ordinary citizens, ignoring all scientific consensus and definitive research, have come up with their own reasons, i.e Vaccinations. The thesis of their argument is based on a 1998 scientific case study by Andrew Wakefield, which suggested that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine may predispose to behavioral regression and pervasive developmental disorder in children. This study has not only been retracted but entirely debunked. There are literally hundreds of studies that prove that there is no link between autism and vaccines. You can view a few of them here, here, here, here, here, here or…ok you get the point. As Fiona Goodle of BMJ’s editor in Chief told CNN: “It’s one thing to have a bad study, a study full of errors, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors, but in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data.” Wakefield had his medical license revoked and was shunned/discredited by the scientific community. However, he has become a martyr for the anti-vaccination movement. They believe that he was a sacrificial lamb, meant to protect the profits of the pharmaceutical industry. The anti-vaxxers say that you can’t trust the mainstream media, the CDC, or the government. This content is all maliciously fictionalized to benefit the medical industry and companies like Pfizer. The media in return has repeatedly brought up the report and the anti-vaccination movement when discussing vaccination, which increases the exposure for this false report, thereby resulting in fewer people getting vaccinated.
Many Americans have a false impression that it’s harmless for a few kids to go unvaccinated, but it’s actually incredibly dangerous. If one child isn’t vaccinated, everyone else is put at risk. This is because when a large enough portion of a community is immunized, the possibility of an infectious outbreak is very small. This is known as community immunity or herd immunity. The more people that are vaccinated, the less of a chance there is of an outbreak occurring.
All of this is incredibly depressing. The anti-vaxx movement is wrong, period. Jenny McCarthy, former Playboy model and wannabe celebrity has become the leading vocal leader of the anti-vaccine movement. She claims that vaccines gave her son autism. She became an outspoken and enthusiastic proponent of the anti-vax movement. I feel it’s important to note that McCarthy is not a doctor and has no experience in the medical field. Her and other vaccine deniers question that the ingredients, the “toxins”, found in vaccines are untested and can cause all sorts of illnesses. They worry that the CDC’s recommended vaccination schedule overwhelms infants’ immune systems. These are valid concerns for a parent to have. There is good reason to assess/question what you are putting into your child’s body. Except, there is no anti-freeze or thimerosal (mercury) in vaccines (mercury has been phased out). The chemicals in vaccines are used in incredibly low doses and only to stabilize the vaccine. I empathize with Jenny and other parent’s desire to understand why their child was diagnosed with such a terrible condition. These parents only want to protect their children and are doing what they think is best. That being said, her fear-mongering and constant denial of science is literally killing people. She is putting everyone at risk. Oh, and I should mention that Jenny McCarthy’s kid has Landau–Kleffner syndrome, not autism, he was originally misdiagnosed. Since the diagnosis, McCarthy has still not retracted her claims and has not apologized.
The idea that a person can google something for an hour and think that they know more than the experts that spend their entire adult life dedicated to that specific field of study, is stupid, but surprisingly not that irrational. It is normal for human beings to value our own intuition over what another person says. Conviction is an important part of the human character, it’s what makes us unique. It’s why some of us may be atheists but still believe in ghosts. It’s how a world chess grandmaster with a genius IQ could be a fervent Holocaust denier. It’s how we all know that hiding under the covers prevents monsters from attacking you in your sleep. Subjective (and possibly irrational) thinking isn’t a disease, it’s human nature, but you know what is a disease: Ignorance. Questioning the status quo, having an unpopular opinion, etc, are all admirable traits. They are very much what makes our country a democracy, but there is a difference between questioning an established practice and blatantly ignoring evidence/facts to fit your own misguided preconceived beliefs. So to Jenny and the entire anti-vaxx community, check yourself before you wreck yourself…and possibly kill hundreds of children.