I can’t believe I’m writing this. I can’t believe what I am seeing. People say you can’t fix stupid… I argue you don’t even have to. They’ll take care of themselves. By stupid, I’m referring to anti-vaxxers. For those who may be unaware, there exists a growing population of people who knowingly choose not to vaccinate themselves or their family. First, let’s start with some basic definitions and facts surrounding vaccines and the process of vaccination:
- A vaccine is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases”. In other words, it is a substance injected into the body that teaches your body how to be immune to some diseases.
- Herd immunity is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that results if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through vaccination”. Essentially the more immunity a population has as a whole the less likely that a disease will spread since it isn’t present in large parts of a particular population.
- According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are some individuals who should not be vaccinated due to increased risks. A full list of these individuals can be found on the CDC website. However, it should be noted that individuals with weak immune systems (due to diseases and not just because you always seem to be sick), infants, and pregnant women cannot receive a variety of vaccines.
Brace yourself, one of the main reasons why parents knowingly choose not to vaccinate their children is because of a discredited study from an asshole who had his medical license revoked who claimed (and I cannot stress enough that it is not true) that vaccines had an extremely small chance of causing the development of autism post vaccination (Doctor Mike, Youtube).
This is rather scary. The first thing that should immediately concern you is that these parents are choosing to put their child(ren) and other children at risk to an otherwise eradicated deadly disease because they are afraid of a fake claim. A claim that there’s a tiny chance their kid could get autism. Imagine looking at a kid with cancer, or an elderly person who cannot receive a vaccine and saying you don’t care whether they die because of a preventable disease simply because it means your kid won’t have autism.
Seriously, this isn’t much different than pointing a gun at someone and saying you’re pulling the trigger because the tooth fairy told you your teeth would fall out otherwise. If this sounds hyperbolic, a Measles outbreak has been taking the world by storm. In the Vancouver airport, it was found that patient zero of BC’s outbreak was an anti-vaxxer who thought his child would get autism if they received vaccinations. Sadly, 2 children at this child’s school have been infected with Measles. Again, humanity was able to essentially eliminate Measles from the population at large due to vaccinations.
Here are some facts about the recent Measles outbreak:
- After 5 years free of Measles, Costa Rica sees its first Measles outbreak from a 5-year-old boy who was not vaccinated (USA Today)
- As of the end of June, more than 107 cases of Measles have been discovered across 21 states in America. (CNN)
- By vaccinating yourself, you potentially protecting yourself, your child, and other people (who cannot be vaccinated) from getting Measles
- According to the CDC children cannot be vaccinated with the common MMR vaccine until they are at least 12 months old. This means that babies will not have immunity to Measles, and should they come in contact with it they will likely be infected. (CDC)
Now, and I want to make this abundantly clear, you are an inconsiderate, selfish and uneducated person if you believe the cons of vaccinating yourself or your kid (again, there are none) outweigh the pros (again, you are potentially saving lives). If I were to take a guess of why some people feel so ambivalent to deadly diseases, it’s because vaccines have worked so well that the population at large never sees the true face (the reality) of what an epidemic of a deadly diseases looks like.
Maybe, it’s because unlike our grandparents and great grandparents, we’ve never seen thousands of kids paralyzed or killed by Polio. Maybe, they’ve never lost a child to Ebola, like over ten thousand parents who lost kids in Liberia. Or maybe, they are just petulant idiots who will never understand the dangerous and reckless consequences of their actions. I for one, am perfectly fine with shipping these people off to their own private island compliments of the Canadian government. We don’t need that kind of stupid influencing the safety and wellbeing of our, and other countries of the world.
Kyle Thompson-Clement is a fifth year Politics student and Opinions Editor of The Athenaeum