It’s time to mandate vaccinations

I’m getting sick at heart hearing about the spread of measles and now mumps. At one time, the United States was able to declare the eradication of these dangerous diseases, but no longer.

Unfortunately, the issue of refusing to vaccinate is one where nut jobs on the left and the right can find common ground. On the right, there is a persistent push to defend the rights of some parents to choose not to vaccinate their children. On the left, some parents who dream of a natural and organic life for their children and refusing to vaccinate.  Across the political spectrum, some parents persist in their ill-informed belief that the MMR (Measles/Mumps/Rubella) cause autism in a tiny percentage of vaccinations. All three of these worldviews are flawed and dangerous.

One of the core beliefs of the far political right is that government should not trample on an individual’s rights. This argument is currently being used to defend some parents right to not vaccinate their children. However, what these folks fail to see is that their so-called right not to vaccinate their children tramples on the rights of others. Their own children have a fundamental right to life, and choosing not to vaccinate them puts them at risk for deadly and preventable diseases. Would we defend these same parents right to allow their toddlers to play with loaded handguns or matches? Do these parents have a right to choose to not use an infant car seat? Do these parents have a right to choose not to feed their children? 

Additionally, these parents who choose to exercise their so-called right to not vaccinate their children are putting the lives of other people’s children at risk as well. Very young children and medically fragile children cannot get the MMR vaccine and depend on the rest of us for their safety. Not only are they trampling on the rights of their own children, but also the rights of other parents and other children. Even staunch conservative must acknowledge that an individual’s rights do not extend so far as to trample upon the rights of another. If they tried to argue that an individual’s rights are absolute, regardless of the consequences to others, then I have the right to drive through red lights and fire my gun into the air in the middle of town.

On the other hand, there are some parents on the political left who are myopically fixated on an imaginary past, where food was unprocessed, air was clean, and water was pure. They choose not to introduce man-made chemicals into their precious children’s bodies.  They also chose to forget about cholera in the years before governments started to chlorinate drinking water. When I was living in Africa, some colleagues and I drove by a deserted village. I asked why there were no villagers. “The well went bad,” replied my friend, code for a cholera outbreak that killed everyone. In reality, the all-natural utopia these folks dream of is exactly that, “no place.” In the real world, before modern science and medicine, life expectancies were brutishly short and child mortality was tragically high.

Finally, the oft-quoted link between the MMR vaccine and autism is a complete myth and the so-called study that began this hysteria was proved fraudulent years ago.

Even if this false and vicious myth were true, it still baffles me why parents would put their children at a high risk of death in order to avoid a minuscule chance that their child might be developmentally disabled? Are these parents really so frightened of autism that they would rather see their children die and live with a disability? Is that belief not abuse, or at least criminal neglect? Again, let me make this crystal clear: these parents aren’t protecting their children from autism. The link between the MMR vaccine and autism is a complete lie. Rather, they are risking their child’s life to assuage their own misguided fears.

It’s time for us as a community to stand up to those individuals who are putting all of our children at a dangerous risk. The best place to do that important work is in our public school system. It’s time to begin mandating vaccines for all school children.

  • AG

    To your point…

    I too get so sick at heart and frustrated with the current generation of parents, who have been disassociated with mathematic logic, history and science. Between making little to no boundaries for what is ADHA / Dyslexia and OCD is and those that have Munchausen by Proxy, there is a lot of passionate parents who lack in basic history and knowledge. The more I watch the USA news, the more I can’t believe that we are truly in some version of a script from the movie Idiocracy.

    I think you are right on point to stand up as a community, but even moreso it is important to empower the adults of today with the knowledge of numbers and math logic (so they can then better understand what the statistics and numbers mean from history), the history of these various diseases in the United States – before and after vaccination administration- and even consider the lessons and value of Penicillin and antibiotics.
    Endlessly I have seen
    90% of women who contract certain types of HPV get cervical cancer. Not 10% or 7 %. 90%. The MOST responsive a person is to the HPV vaccination is pre-teen and not older people – scientifically proven time and again. It mostly goes unnoticed because carriers show no symptoms, but there are close to 150 types.

    It is unfortunate, but the medical field is pressured to perform financially, which requires unnecessary careless diagnosis, tests, prescriptions and treatments. A person truly needs to also be empowered to understand WHY a doctor or a nurse diagnostician may be too rushed for a less profitable flu or hidden Lyme disease issue, to fill up their time with profitable hours by prescribing a battery of tests.

    SO the point I am making, we need to teach and speak to BOTH the parents through one means and on one level and the kids on another. And frankly, I don’t like it but ‘Community Outreach’ means local PTA agenda topics, online PTA groups, monitoring grass roots groups via to educate those who don’t understand and to drive groups to help parents. It should also be a social media and openly discussed topic (with colorful hand outs and even a mascot character) to display and teach it to those who work in learning centers outside of schools like Kumon and Mathnasium. One employee who gets sick directly effects the business income.