'Vaccines cause profound mental disorders and autism.' You know you've seen articles with variation of that basic headline on your timeline at some point.
Maybe it's someone you went to high school with who's taking a break from posting how-to guides for living off the grid or possibly just a woefully under-informed relative that chooses to get the majority of their news from a combination of QVC and Upworthy. Either way, if you think vaccines are going to give your kids autism and you choose not to vaccinate your precious little almond milk snowflakes, then you're also choosing not to participate in society at large. Correlation does not imply causation especially when the correlation is largely fueled by a decades old, debunked and fraudulent study. But Andrew Wakefield's long redacted study, this spectacular work of fan-fiction, is the holy text for the anti-vaxxer movement.
Which leads us to today, and a measles outbreak in California. The outbreak originated from an overseas tourist and managed to gain a foothold here in the US. And not only in California! The virus has now infected 94 people in eight states, with 67 of those cases being linked to Disneyland, California. You should know that California allows exemptions from vaccinations for medical reasons and "personal beliefs.” Those beliefs can be as flimsy as “I don’t want my child to be exposed to the unknown toxins of vaccines.” And, of course, what would a public health crisis be without tone-deaf presidential hopefuls tragically wandering onto the wrong side of the debate. 2016 hopeful Chris Christie was in the UK earlier this week doing his best to look presidential and succeeding only in looking like the stay-puft marshmallow man if marshmallow actually meant gravy was asked by the UK media about the stateside measles outbreak. His remarks were stunningly wrong-headed.
"Mary Pat and I have had our children vaccinated, and we think that it's an important part of being sure we protect their health and the public health." Which would’ve been great if he’d just stopped talking right then. But then he added, "I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well, so that's the balance that the government has to decide." Christie closed out his Q&A by stating "not every vaccine is created equal, and not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others."
Ignore your publicly elected officials blindly jumping on this issue in the hopes of seeming well-informed and let everyone know that vaccination is literally what's keeping people healthy.