More parents forgoing vaccinations

By Megan McArdle

Another infuriating article about the twee Bobo sociopaths who refuse to vaccinate their children. Knowing parasites upon the herd immunity of everyone else, they are increasingly creating clusters of unvaccinated kids who form disease reservoirs where previously eradicated illnesses like measles are making a comeback. Their precious darlings then go on to infect younger children who haven't had their vaccinations, the immunocompromised, and adults whose immunity has waned1.

There is substantial evidence that communities with pools of unvaccinated clusters risk infecting a broad community that includes people who have been inoculated.

For instance, in a 2006 mumps outbreak in Iowa that infected 219 people, the majority of those sickened had been vaccinated. In a 2005 measles outbreak in Indiana, there were 34 cases, including six people who had been vaccinated.



Words fail one in trying to come up with adequate words to describe people who permit their children to bring the precious gift of sterility, encephalitis, and death to perfect strangers.

Of course, I recognize that people have a right to abide by their conscience, and I would not want public health officials to force children to be vaccinated. I just think that people who are unvaccinated, unless they have a legitimate medical reason for same, should not be allowed to use public roads, public sidewalks, or public services. They have a right not to vaccinate their children. But they do not have a right to risk my health.

Update I chose the word "sociopath" quite deliberately. I think parents who leave their children unvaccinated are the moral equivalent of people who drive drunk. I imagine the person in my comments who contracted measles at 15 months from an unvaccinated child, and ended up with permanent corneal scarring, feels even less kindly than I do.

1While it is commonly assumed that vaccinations give you lifetime immunity, depending on the disease, that immunity can fall off over time; the vaccines work by denying diseases their most common reservoir (schoolchildren), not necessarily by giving everyone permanent immunity.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2008/03/more-parents-forgoing-vaccinations/3074/