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Modern medical treatment will steal your soul

May 12, 2010

Image unrelated; he's just RIDING A TURTLE.

I’m not the kind of person who believes science is the answer to everything. Still, there are times when science is the best thing we’ve got, and one of those times is when you get to the question of childhood vaccinations. Vaccinations, you see, prevent disease, and disease sucks. If only we all saw it that way.  Explain, USA Today:

Nearly 40% of parents of toddlers have delayed or refused a child’s vaccination — a practice that endangers not only their children but others around them, a study reported Monday.

Interviews with parents suggest that many are influenced by medical myths, such as the notions that kids can’t be vaccinated when they have a cold or that shots cause autism, Rodewald says.

Although vaccines were once almost universally accepted, some parents who are too young to remember diseases such as measles now question their importance, says pediatrician Paul Offit of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. [You know what else is probably totally safe just because I don’t know anyone who’s been hurt by it? Asbestos. And lead paint. And bath tub gin. And back alley abortions. This should be great.–Ed.]

Yet some of these intentionally undervaccinated children have helped to spark recent measles outbreaks.

In 2008, for example, an intentionally unvaccinated 7-year-old boy brought measles into the country after returning from Switzerland, according to an April report in Pediatrics. The child exposed 839 people in the San Diego area to the disease, which killed 500 Americans a year before a vaccine was introduced in 1963.

Let’s just be thankful it only happened to San Diegans. We could do with fewer.

I don’t claim to have the medical know-how (NSFW) of a Jenny McCarthy, but it seems to me that this vaccination question is one of the many examples of otherwise rational, intelligent people being driven slightly mental by terror over protecting their children. Are vaccines totally safe? I have no idea. And neither do most of the people screaming the loudest and risking their children’s lives by exposing them to diseases we thought had gone out with crossbows and the Crusades. My children and I are lucky enough that none of us suffer from autism, but you know what else sucks? Poliomyelitis. And diphtheria. Not to mention smallpox. I guess the point is that science, while not perfect, is the best we’ve got. So unless you’re the sort of person who believes vaccinations are all part of a government conspiracy (Oh, man, this site is so awesome it can only have been written by my father; and why, by the way, do all conspiracy theorists insist that the government is going to such lengths to know where we are at all times? What kind of goal is that? I’m usually on the couch. No need to develop microscopic tracking devices. I’ll be here if you need me.), then please, just get your kid the shots.

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