Saturday, May 3, 2014

New Outbreaks of Preventable Diseases: When Celebrity Endorsement Comes before Common Sense

We have to wonder why with all the scientific developments and the advanced medical technology we have in the 21st century that we are seeing a huge resurgence of preventable childhood illnesses that were largely irradiated with vaccination. It's not that the diseases are becoming immune (although there are some cases in which this is true) it's because more and more people are refusing to vaccinate their children. yet fail to see the correlation between this practice and the resurgence of childhood diseases.

"Science and common sense be damned, my child is not going to be vaccinated because they could get autism!", they say. Or "I want to raise my child "naturally"".

Well hold on a moment there. There is no credible scientific evidence that supports a correlation between autism and vaccines. And if you want to raise your child "naturally", then be prepared for your child to possibly die from something you as a parent could have easily prevented. There are numerous reasons why some children cannot be vaccinated, and to keep those children safe, all children who can be vaccinated should be. It's a matter of public health, not "feelings" or "opinions".

Also, consider that the source of these new views and concerns about vaccines are not doctors. They are celebrities with no medical training whatsoever. Jenny McCarthy and Alicia Silverstone are not doctors. Strangely this phenomenon shows how media obsessed Western culture has become that ordinary people are more willing to believe a celebrity's medical advice than a doctor's. And the results are that outbreaks are spreading all over the world  in places where occurrences of these diseases were once next to zero.

 We have come to a time where people are complacent about these sorts of diseases because of the effectiveness of vaccines, and a good media campaign by a few well placed celebrities is more than enough to convince people not to get their children vaccinated. How many children will have to die before we start using our common sense again?

This outbreak of anti vaccination rhetoric is symptomatic of a culture in which paranoia against "the establishment" is so rife that there are people who will put their children and other people's children as well as themselves at risk to prove a point. To show that they are the most "naturalistic" parent. In a way it gives these parents a sense of social status, in that they can gain approval from their peer group who are like minded by showing off their privilege in being able to go against the medical establishment. And it certainly helps if you can point out the latest fad book that approves of your course of action. Anti vaccination parents are following a fad, not science. It's time to wake up. 

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