A long fight

vaccinate by lu_lu
Giving vaccines a shot in the arm:
[Via Bad Astronomy]

Reading through the truly awful antivax responses to my post where I state flatly and with conviction and evidence that the antivax movement is killing people, I was stunned to see Toni McCaffery had posted a response as well. Ms. McCaffery is the mother of Dana, the infant who died …

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Anti-vax purity has real world consequences, such as the death of children too young to be vaccinated surrounded by too many who refused. The loss of herd immunity is one of the great tragedies of the modern world, since it is s easily maintained.

Pertussis has one of the highest reproduction numbers – the average number of other people than can be infected by one person with the disease. Only measles comes close (and it kills children in unvaccinated populations). Most of the other preventable diseases are half of that, or more. This is because pertussis is spread by the moist droplets expelled during the severe coughing fits that can last for weeks, with the patient remaining infective the entire time.

So, to provide herd immunity against pertussis, a much higher percentage (over 90%) of the surrounding populations MUST be immunized. This is to protect those that can not be protected any other way. This need for high levels of vaccination means that even small increases in anti-vaccination cases in a population substantially increases the chance of pertussis outbreaks.

Anti-vaxers help spread communicable diseases.

The benefit of vaccination to society is not merely that it prevents someone from getting a disease. That simply benefits the individual. Society’s benefit derives from the fact that vaccination STOPS the spread of the disease. There are fewer sick and fewer to spread the disease. Those who refuse vaccination make it easier to spread disease and thus result in the death of people, of infants too young to fight off the disease.

The number of children who die due to pertussis in the US has increased rapidly over the last few years. This loss of herd immunity is worrisome.

It is good to read about those that are pushing back against the deniers. Anti-vaccination efforts hurt our entire society. It is generally only found in areas of the world where they have forgotten how terrible many of these easily preventable diseases actually are.

Anti-vax people are not only playing around with medical decisions for their own children. They are deciding life or death for others around them. Children will die who should not have.

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