Anti-Vaxers Are a Small Group With Big Mouths

vaccinesThe latest numbers are out in the journal Pediatrics regarding vaccines and our children, and while most people are crying foul, I can kind of see a silver lining in this cloud. The survey tells us that 10 percent of toddlers and pre-school children were behind in their vaccines last year.

Even though that 10 percent seems daunting, and obviously causes problems such as the most recent measles breakout in my neck of the woods, the fact that only 2 percent of parents don't vaccine at all is a relief. And incredibly surprising considering the amount of commentary we see on the issue, especially around here on The Stir. It appears those of you crying wolf about the dangers of vaccines and autism, and other scientifically unfounded maladies, are few and far between. While clearly the loudest voices are also the minority, it's still dangerous to spread misinformation in such an aggressive way.

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When people hear a certain position over and over again, they start to get used to it. And becoming familiar with anti-vaccine rhetoric that is inaccurate can make people believe it is true. Acting on bad information is not only dangerous, it's deadly.

This morning at my son's pre-school, one of his classmates arrived with her baby brother in tow. This little guy had never been to school because he hadn't received his vaccinations. Now that he has, he's ready and able to mix with the germ factory that is pre-school. But if one of those California kids with whooping cough had rubbed elbows with his big sister, that could have been devastating to the tiny baby. That's who the anti-vax crowd is hurting: Innocent babies who cannot defend themselves, and anyone else with a compromised immune system.

So while I'm relieved to hear it's only 2 percent of the population that is refusing to vaccinate their children altogether, that 2 percent would be making better use of their time by reading up on the devastating deaths due to whooping cough, the flu, and other diseases that have been eradicated because of vaccines than commenting on parenting message boards.

Did you think more people refused to vaccinate than 2 percent?

 

Image via Mel B./Flickr

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