Vaccines prevent all kinds of awful diseases, like influenza, measles, mumps, and diphtheria. So, why are more and more upper-middle-class, educated people refusing to vaccinate their children?
According to The World Health Organization, vaccinations prevent millions of deaths every year.
Despite the overwhelming amount of data, some parents are still opting out of vaccinating their children, and the number of those who harbor antivaccination sentiments appears to be growing.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that today, “vaccines are becoming a victim of their success.” Since many people have never seen the effects of debilitating diseases, some have become complacent, or even skeptical, about the benefits of vaccinating.
The internet worsens fears regarding vaccination safety, as at least a dozen websites publish alarming information about the risks of vaccines. Increasing numbers of parents are refusing immunizations for their children and seeking legally sanctioned exemptions instead, apparently fearing vaccines more than the underlying diseases that they protect against.
This growing trend was tackled on a recent episode of “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart. “Daily Show” correspondent Samantha Bee interviewed Sarah Pope, a health and nutrition blogger, who said vaccines are “loaded with toxins” and that she would not inject them into her kids.
In the video, Bee tries to satirize Pope, poking fun at her rejection of the scientific “consensus” and pretending to vomit when Pope says her blog has 46,000 subscribers.
Oh, and what was the episode called? “An Outbreak of Liberal Idiocy.”
Why? Because outbreaks of the diseases are showing up in California, New York and Oregon, in communities that have large populations of Caucasian upper-middle-class, college-educated people.
“I’m not putting anyone at risk by not vaccinating my children,” Pope said in the video. “Unvaccinated children are much healthier.”
The lifestyle blogger also said she believed the decline in epidemics was from other changes in society, such as “getting the filthiness of the horses out of the streets.”
Infectious disease expert and Director of the Vaccine Education Center Paul Offit also made an appearance in the video, and said the number of people who are choosing not to vaccinate their children is indeed going up. As a result, preventable diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough and rubella are making a comeback. Woof.
“Vaccines are not a belief system,” Offit said. “They’re an evidence-based system.”
Offit said that “sadly,” he thinks this harmful trend will only diffuse once these diseases, long dormant, start re-appearing. (What a shame.)
“So there is a cure for science denial,” Bee said at the end of the video. “Once Florida is underwater and we all have Polio, it will be better.”
Watch the full episode here.Justine Hofherr can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her @Jhofherr29