California Is Bringing Measles Back One Kindergartner At A Time
California is proving to be a case study for what happens when a sizable number of people decide against vaccinating their children. In news that may send you into a blind rage, there are schools in wealthy coastal and mountain communities where entering kindergarten classes have rates of belief exemptions for vaccines topping 25%. It would appear that California is bringing measles back in small pockets and also, whooping cough. This is a disturbing trend that could portend higher rates of once nearly obliterated illnesses making a reappearance.
From the LA Times:
Parents who say immunization is against their personal beliefs can get exemptions. Some opt out of all the mandatory shots, while others allow students to get select vaccinations. There are also temporary and medical exemptions.
That makes exact vaccination rates hard to assess. But the upward trend in belief exemptions is troubling to health experts. California is coping with a whooping cough epidemic and earlier this year experienced a cluster of measles outbreaks, thanks in part to insufficient vaccination.
According to the Center for Disease Control via Io9.com, there have been nearly 600 cases of measles reported from January 1 to August 29 of this year. This is the highest the country has seen since the disease was eliminated in the year 2000. From Io9:
The harmful effects of vaccine-refusal have not been limited to measles’ comeback. California, the most populous state in the U.S., has become a case study in what happens when people decide against vaccinating their children. The L.A. Times reports California parents today are opting out of vaccinating their kids at twice the rate they did seven years ago. State health officials say insufficient vaccination has contributed not only to the the widespread reemergence of measles, but the ongoing whooping cough epidemic, and has left the state vulnerable to outbreaks of other serious diseases.
This is troubling to everyone, needless to say. Herd immunity will stop working if not enough people are vaccinating their kids- that is a fact. The small percentage of the population that are truly vulnerable and cannot receive vaccines such as infants, pregnant women, the elderly and anyone with a compromised immune system are supposed to be among that group of people who can remain unvaccinated and still have herd immunity because everyone else is being inoculated. This small number does not allow for arrogant, uneducated jerks who think they know better than proven science and medicine letting their children go unvaccinated. Quite simply, this is a trend that needs to stop as these select California communities are proving what happens when larger numbers of people decide not to vaccinate.
Some parents really are daft enough to believe that the right diet and vitamins are enough to prevent their special snowflakes from contracting diseases that the vaccines they refuse to give their kids are supposed to have eliminated. I guess they aren’t thinking beyond their own kids and do not realize that if enough morons do what they are doing, then no amount of vitamins in the world will stop an epidemic of a once eradicated disease. From the LA Times:
Holly Blumhardt, a mother of three unvaccinated children (two of them attend Orange County public school), said her family believes in staying healthy “from the inside out.” In her view, that means taking vitamin and mineral supplements, steering clear of genetically modified foods, getting regular chiropractic care and maintaining an “active lifestyle.”
“Most parents want to do the … healthiest thing for their child,” Blumhardt said. “It should be their choice.”
Yes, Holly- most parents DO want what is healthiest for their child and also, what is healthiest for everyone’s child and that means every child who is able medically should be vaccinated against everything there is a vaccine for. This women (and so many like her) truly believe that chiropractic adjustments and non-GMO foods will stop her children from contracting whooping cough- dear God, I simply cannot even. I guess it really will take one of these diseases making a big comeback to get these people to realize that this is nothing to mess with. This is not tantamount to the decision to feed formula or breastfeed. This is not deciding whether to sleep train your baby. This is making a decision for your child that affects so many other people in your community and beyond.
We are seeing now the affects of these vaccine belief exemptions and it’s not pretty. I really hope these California parents pull their heads out of their asses and decide to start vaccinating at a higher rate before we have a more widespread epidemic on our hands. It is horrifying to contemplate the implications of the rising rate of unvaccinated individuals among the general population.
(Image: Adam Gregor/Shutterstock)