Several years ago, I joined the chorus of people who began to warn that as vaccination rates fell, we were setting ourselves up for a coming epidemic. In particular, measles, mumps, and whooping cough were pointed out as being the likely ones to first begin to spread. Meantime, we got carried away with diseases that were harder to spread than the false rumors being spread, such as the Ebola virus.
But, people continued to prefer their rumors and false information to scientific fact. And thus, a great unnecessary money-wasting crisis was whipped up over Ebola while the falling vaccination rate continued to be ignored. The warnings went out that the protection of herd immunity would cease once the number of unvaccinated people fell over 10%. In certain parts of California, the unvaccinated rate fell to 15%, and the scientific predictions finally came to pass. An infected subject went to a part in which the percentage of people unvaccinated was low enough for measles to take hold.
Measles is now in about 18 states. The disease that was wiped out, for all intents and purposes, has been brought back by mistaken and unscientific liberals and conservatives. All political philosophies in this country have some within them who argue, with great vigor, that their mistaken beliefs on vaccination should be given equal time. The only problem is that what is true is true. One can quote all the “ignored” scientists one wants. But, our children have become the laboratory that disproves the mistaken facts and studies upon which uncaring parents have relied.
Yes, I said uncaring parents. Being a caring parent is not believing any and all strange theories flying around. Being a caring parent is not believing that you are more capable of evaluating scientific fact than the many scientists who have published papers on the subject. Being a caring parent is not claiming that you are simply protecting your child against “unproven theories” when you are opening your child to an infection you could have prevented.
I have finally come to the opinion that we do need to return to an earlier time in our country, to the 1950’s when your child was not allowed in school if they were not vaccinated, when you were investigated as a parent if your child was not protected. I no longer am even close to believing that your rights as a parent trump the health of your child. Just like judges rule and force treatment on children of parents who believe in Christian Science or in “natural” treatments, so do judges need to begin to rule against parents who expose their children to diseases by refusing to vaccinate and who endanger society by removing the herd immunity on which we rely. Your rights as a liberal or as a conservative Christian parent do not trump your children’s rights to health. What may be allowed for your religious beliefs cannot be allowed when society and children are put in danger because of you. It is one thing to tolerate the crazy Uncle Tom or Aunt Joan. It is another thing to let the inmates rule the asylum.
p align=”justify”>You may argue that if we force this issue, it will somehow open the doors to other types of government intrusion. But, in the 1950’s, vaccination was more mandatory and it did not. This is the straw issue that is raised every time that the good of society needs to be considered against individual freedom. Not every limitation of individual freedom is a bad thing. You cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theater, as the quote goes. You cannot endanger society or your children while crying freedom. Enough is enough.