We live in a strange moment of human history. We have this thing called science. Through its fruits (medicines, technology, etc.), many of us live lives fundamentally different from the tens of thousands of generations preceding us. At the same time, through science’s unintended consequences, we have also changed the “natural” world in ways likely to pose daunting challenges to our ongoing “project of civilization.” But strangest of all, in the midst of these profound changes, one growing response to the tough questions science raises in our lives has been to act as if it doesn’t exist.
I am, of course, talking about denial. The anti-vax movement, like climate change denialism, rests on the assumption that if you disagree with certain established scientific results you can just ignore them. You call the science lies — or claim the scientists have a political bias.
I think this is a good example of Gov. Christie making some very ill-informed statements. We heard it a lot during the Ebola discussion, and now it seems to have happened again.
We know that vaccines are safe, and we know that vaccines save lives. I have worked in a measles outbreak in northern Nigeria before. We were seeing about 2,000 children a week with measles. It is a scary disease. I know that these families of these 100 people who have the disease now could tell you a little bit about what the disease looks like and how much misery it causes. After the vaccine was implemented in 1963, there was a large reduction in cases, about 98 percent. And I believe it was 1989 to ’91, there was a resurgence. … The stakes are high. We have to protect our most vulnerable populations. – Kaci Hickox
Unbeknownst to many of the public, August was National Immunization Awareness Month. I know, I know: it’s been overshadowed by some very exotic and thrilling headliners this month. The Ebola epidemic blazing defiantly in West Africa. The jaw-dropping videos shown on Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week.” The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge clogging everyone’s social feeds. Vaccines are just not as sexy or as flamboyant as these issues.
Kreston breaks down the numbers of deaths caused by ‘news-worthy’ killers compared to the number of deaths caused by diseases that can be prevented with vaccination.
But here’s the thing: Vaccine-preventable diseases kill an estimated three million people every year, with half of those deaths in children. That is five-hundred times the number of people who die every year from the devastating, progressive neurological disorder that is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (around 6000 deaths every year). That is seven-hundred-and-fifty-thousand times the number of people killed in shark attacks (about 4 deaths every year). So far, the Ebola epidemic has killed 1350 people in West Africa (as of August 22, 2014).
The post breaks down and explains diseases that cause thousands to hundreds of thousands of deaths a year and can be prevented through vaccination. Read the post and educate yourself!
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.
The CDC posts that the measles outbreak in Ohio and other parts of the country is continuing. The new report also shows that this outbreak constitutes the highest number of measles cases in the US since the 1990’s, with it likely continuing to increase. It is still somewhat unclear if this increase is due to lack of vaccinations, or a large measles outbreak in the Philippines. However, I am gonna make an educated guess that lack of vaccinations is a major player in the outbreak, given that certain communities that tend to be anti-vaccination are the center of the outbreak (cough cough, Amish in Ohio).
“In the United States, the number of people who choose not to be immunized for religious, philosophical or personal reasons has begun to become a public health problem, Schuchat said. Others are unaware of, or unable to get, vaccinations before they arrive in the United States. A small number of adults can lose their immunity over time and may need to be re-vaccinated.”
“Some, Nolt said, have a “more traditional, conservative, old-fashioned way of life and set of sensibilities that views medicine as something that is used to heal or cure, rather than to prevent” disease. Others have a “theologically informed…sense that we should place our trust in God and not in vaccines.””
Washington Post article here. CDC press release here.