debate reached a fevered pitch and took over the national conversation as a measles outbreak continued to spread in early 2015.
People for and against vaccinations continue to state their cases passionately.
However, it's those who are stating it with more reason and less emotion who
should be heard loudest and clearest. As Hillary Clinton tweeted:
The science is clear: The
earth is round, the sky is blue, and#vaccineswork. Let's protect all our kids.#GrandmothersKnowBest
there are errant doctors spouting off their opinions in obscure publications,
citing questionable studies and wonky facts, there are even more indisputable
(and actual) experts who have stepped up to put forward the actual truth.
Here's a roundup of some of the most succinct arguments in favor of
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta writes: "The benefit of vaccines is
not a matter of opinion. It is a matter of fact ... Studies, including a meta analysis of
1.2 million children this past December, show no link between
vaccines and autism. That is not a matter of opinion. It is a matter of fact ... David Katz, from Yale School of Public Health, wrote that it
makes no more sense to rant against vaccines because you heard of someone who
might have had an adverse reaction than to stop walking because you heard about
a pedestrian struck by a car."
director of Pediatric Infectious Disease Services at Children's Hospitals and
Clinics of Minnesota, Patsy Stinchfield, told The Huffington Post: "We have seat belt laws. We
would never think to just lay that newborn baby down in the front seat and say,
'I don't really believe in car seats,' or 'I don't really want to buckle my
child up' ... We should have the same kind of vigor when it comes to protecting
children from vaccine-preventable diseases.'"
3. It's not just about protecting your children, but all children. One California dad is replying to those around him to
protect his immune-compromised son, as NPR reported recently.
The world, in other words, has its own ways. Denial can't change that. But what the Disneyland outbreak makes clear is that science denial has consequences.
4. We've forgotten what measles death looks like. Philanthropist Melinda Gates is puzzled how so many people in a
developed nation are acting as if they are in a developing one instead. "We take
vaccines so for granted in the United States. Women in the developing world
know the power of [vaccines]. They will walk 10 kilometers in the heat with
their child and line up to get a vaccine because they have seen death."
current measles outbreak? "'100 percent connected' to the anti-immunization
campaign," a public health officer in Orange County, Calif., told the New York Times. "This is a serious
contagious disease that is preventable. The message is absolutely critical that
if you are not vaccinated, you need to get vaccinated."
6. Astrophysicist Adam Frank said on NPR,
can't fool Mother Nature. Infections spread with well-understood mathematical
patterns. Planets respond to changes in atmospheric composition via the laws of
physics and chemistry. They do this in spite of who we vote for. They do this
in spite of our political or social beliefs about right and wrong, good and
bad. The world, in other words, has its own ways. Denial can't change that. But
what the Disneyland outbreak makes clear is that science denial has
consequences. That is the real news here. The anti-vax and climate 'skeptic' strains
of science denial have been with us for more than a decade. Until now, however,
it's all seemed a bit theoretical, like just another forum for Internet
hate-festing. But now along comes an outbreak of a once-beaten disease and—surprise—we suddenly see that science denial has actual real world
consequences, because its about the actual real world (the one we humans
invented science to describe)."
For those more worried about harm from the measles vaccine than from the measles
itself, don't. "Like all biological products, you can never say anything is 100
percent safe. But after millions of doses given around the world, I can tell
you that adverse events are extremely rare," said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive
medicine at Vanderbilt University, to ABC News.
vaccine by any other name isn't poison, no matter what the anti-vaccination
movement would like you to believe. It's called science.
you spouting off a so-called fact about vaccines like it's gospel? Check your supposed knowledge
against myths like this one: "'Vaccines are unnatural.' Because vaccines don't grow on trees, they are bad, right? Wrong! You know what else is natural? Smallpox,
polio and the bubonic plague."
If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, then hopefully these photos will be all the convincing
that those opposed to vaccinations needs to nudge them in the right direction.