Not vaccinating = victimizing children and reliving bad history #science #vaccinate


Paul Offit has written a great opinion piece (full of awesome science facts) for the Wall Street Journal about vaccinations, or lack thereof. The article highlights the recent outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases in wealthy, educated areas of the USA. Offit gives a history lesson on anti-vaccine movements (that’s right California, this fad happened in Japan in the 1970’s: not vaccinating is lame and tired):

Parents might consider what has happened in other countries when large numbers of parents chose not to vaccinate their children. Japan, for example, which had virtually eliminated whooping cough by 1974, suffered an anti-vaccine activist movement that caused vaccine rates to fall to 10% in 1976 from 80% in 1974. In 1979, more than 13,000 cases of whooping cough and 41 deaths occurred as a result.

41 preventable deaths and who knows how many other complications from the 13,000 cases of a preventable disease! So sad. Offit gives one possible explanation for why people, especially educated, wealthy parents have stopped vaccinating.

We simply don’t fear these diseases anymore. My parents’ generation—children of the 1920s and 1930s—needed no convincing to vaccinate their children. They saw that whooping cough could kill as many as 8,000 babies a year. You didn’t have to convince my generation—children of the 1950s and 1960s—to vaccinate our children. We had many of these diseases, like measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox. But young parents today don’t see the effects of vaccine-preventable diseases and they didn’t grow up with them. For them, vaccination has become an act of faith.

Correct! Many of the diseases that we vaccinate against are gone from the public eye, but are in fact horrible diseases that can be fatal, especially in children. This is why scientists created vaccines for them. Vaccines against diseases were once celebrated! and the scientists behind them were Nobel Prize winners! But now that people have forgotten the huge impact of these diseases, vaccines are seen as unnecessary, and scientists are seen as drug-pushers. Unfortunately, Offit explains that recent outbreaks of these vaccine preventable diseases has not rallied parents to vaccinate their children. Rates of vaccination remain unchanged following the outbreaks.

Because we’re unwilling to learn from history, we are starting to relive it. And children are the victims of our ignorance. An ignorance that, ironically, is cloaked in education, wealth and privilege.


#Science Quotable: Paul Offit – Not getting the HPV vaccine makes NO SENSE

Why are adolescents and their parents embracing meningococcal and Tdap vaccines but not the HPV vaccine? One possible explanation is a clash between perception and reality, People just don’t understand how serious an infection HPV can be. In a typical year in the United States about 150 people die from meningococcus, four from tetanus, none from diphtheria, 20 from pertussis, and roughly 4,000 from cancers caused by HPV. People are more than 20 times more likely to die from HPV than from the other four diseases combined. – Paul Offit gives facts in his op-ed in NYT on HPV vaccination

Daily Show takes on science deniers


Samantha Bee does an amazing job hilariously describing the problem, as always. This time her focus is liberal idiocy and vaccines. Dr. Paul Offit from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is interviewed, “the good news about vaccines, they’re not a belief system, there an evidence based system.” Having known people (including my boyfriend) that took classes with Dr. Offit, he is a terrific scientist, doctor, and teacher. Glad the Daily Show covered this topic, hopefully they will do more takedowns of science deniers in the future.