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Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive » You just wait, it’ll be like a global enema

You just wait, it’ll be like a global enema

August is Vaccine Awareness Month:

The recent H1N1 pandemic and efforts to stem the tide of infection through vaccination is a great opportunity to teach the public about the importance and potential of vaccines. Instead I am seeing a wave of anti-vaccine misinformation. Some of it, I think (I can’t really know) is just lazy journalists who haven’t done their research. Two articles in a local online news outlet, the Examiner.com Hartford, seem like lazy journalism (which seems to fit the low standards of this paper, which seems to be mostly a glorified blog collective).

Ed Kellner wrote a piece: Autism worries raise concern about swine flu vaccine, in which he makes some blatantly false and reckless statements, such as the myth that mercury poisoning has been linked to autism. He then gives the standard sciencey statement from the CDC followed by a long list of false claims and misleading statements by the anti-vaccine Autism Research Institute. This wasn’t even false balance – this was grossly slanted toward the cranks. Kellner never mentions that thimerosal was removed from the vaccine schedule in the US by 2002 and yet autism rates continued their rate of increase without any change.

Jenny McCarthy and autism alarmists startle me with their lack of reasoning.

Now, being a libertarian, I cannot say that forcing people to vaccinate their children is right. But in the bigger picture, it really is the better option. Many public schools require vaccinations for admittance, and I think this is the better route. If you don’t want to vaccinate your kids, keep them away from the other kids.

The crazies over at The Patriot Axe Message have ranted about vaccines killing children within minutes of being given. This is sad, but the numbers of those dying are very, very small. And the rest aren’t losing the use of their legs from Polio. Vaccinations are good in a utilitarian sense: everyone does it, a small percentage suffers, yet the welfare of the overall public is increased and spared the horrors of an epidemic. As sad as it is for those few parents, the good of the many really does outweigh the good of the few/one. In a libertarian society, the government would have no say-so regarding vaccinations, but any private enterprise could require it (schools, home owners associations, etc) for use of their services.

But maybe I’m biased because I’ve gotten every vaccination known to man – yellow fever, smallpox, anthrax, you name it – and never had anything nasty happen (smallpox does make you feel sick for a day or so, much like a flu shot).

And as far as the increasing autism rate? The way we live now is so very completely different from a century ago and so many things have changed that it could be any number or combination of things. Maybe it’s more women over 40 having children. Maybe it’s power-lines and cell-phones. Maybe it’s high-fructose corn syrup. Or pollution. Or maybe it’s an increase in the survival rate of newborns and the fact that medical science has put survival of the fittest in check. Maybe none of those, but something else.

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