My parents were depression era children and were very aware of diseases that struck hard, and killed. My dad had a brother with polio. That generation of Americans understood the needs for medicine to find answers. For a large percentage of the diseases medicines and vaccinations were discovered. But then through misguided and truly wrong views, along with social media to spread lies, too many parents are stepping back from science and medicine. With that backwards move comes a rebirth of what my parents were happy to have seen eradicated over their lifetimes.
The resurgence of measles across the United States is generating growing bipartisan alarm on Capitol Hill, where the Senate will hold a hearing today about how the government can better combat anti-vaccination conspiracy theories that are putting lives at risk.
It’s an especially important topic for Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the health committee. Her home state of Washington has had 71 confirmed cases of measles since the start of the year. “Diseases aren’t stopped by borders, or walls or bans,” she plans to say in her opening statement. “They are stopped by doctors and nurses – by vaccines and public health awareness.”
Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, the chairman of the committee, will also stress the importance of aggressively promoting vaccinations. “There is a lot of misleading and incorrect information about vaccines that circulates online, including through social media,” Alexander will say in his opening statement. “Here is what I want parents … to know: Vaccines are approved by the FDA and meet the FDA’s gold standard of safety. … Vaccines save lives – the lives of those who receive vaccines and the lives of those who are too young or vulnerable to be immunized.”
For all the education and means to access information I am simply aghast that anyone today would harbor some dark views about immunizations. In 2000 this nation had eradicated measles. So I am dumbfounded by some parents who have their heads so mired into the sands of unsound malarkey that they are now opposed to vaccinations. The latest uptick in measles is simply absurd given the medical fact that a child can be safely immunized and protected from the disease.
How did we find our way to having at one time eradicated measles? It did not happen because we wished it away, but instead because we did not listen to those without a scientific background or allow them to set the agenda. Instead we relied on medical professionals to guide us and worked to immunize our nation’s kids.
And it worked!
Lets cut to the core and call out those nit-wits who claim that immunizations cause autism for what they are. Simply put, they are no smarter than the flat-earth crowd. But those who thought there was a threat of dropping off the edge of the world could do no harm, whereas those who refuse to fulfill their responsibility to have their child immunized poses a real threat to the rest of our families.
That selfish and misguided action must be called out and forced to end.
I am familiar with the rare cases–and they are indeed rare–where some children can not be immunized. But that does not give license to the other parents who hoist themselves on some religious pretext or wishing to regurgitate fraudulent ‘findings’ from ‘doctors’ and, therefor, not immunize their kids.
There is a social contract that we have one with another in this country when it comes to securing our health so to make sure that our larger community does not become ill and suffer consequences. Medical science has allowed us to win the fight over a host of diseases, and we must place into law a measure to force parents to do what is best for their children and our national community.