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The Sciences

This American Measles

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitDecember 27, 2008 9:14 PM


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Skeptical Dad has a really good post up today about vaccinations and measles. Evidently the NPR show This American Life had a segment about a recent outbreak of measles in San Diego: an unvaccinated kid caught the measles overseas, and gave it to several other children. The blurb for the podcast is interesting:

... Like the San Diego parents who didn't vaccinate their child for measles ... When their seven-year-old caught the disease on an overseas trip, this decision became a whole community's problem. The outbreak infected 11 children and endangered many others.

Actually, it sounds to me like the community is at fault here as well, since it's up to everyone to get vaccinated. If we could marginalize the people who are antivax, make them a very very small minority of people, then herd immunity in the community would prevent more of our children from falling ill from completely preventable and sometimes fatal diseases. As I have said many, many times, the irony here is that antivaxxers want to save children's lives, but they are doing the exact opposite: putting our kids at a fearful risk of death because they don't understand the scientific method. Vaccines don't cause autism.

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