The antivaxxers are getting more media attention, and it’s not good for them. NPR has a story about measles being on the rise in Vancouver, and make it clear that it’s due to antivax fear-mongering. Money quote:
CDC officials are watching the Vancouver outbreak closely, as neighboring Washington state has sizable populations of vaccine refusers.
“If measles crossed the border into those populations, there’s a potential for a sizable outbreak,” says Dr. Jane Seward of the CDC.
The antivaxxers are nothing if not ironic: they say they want to protect our health, and yet put it at grave risk, and the fear they monger about vaccines is the exact opposite of what we really should be afraid of: outbreaks of preventable and potentially fatal diseases.
Tip o’ the syringe to Evan Wilson for the NPR story.
Herd immunity is one of the most important social impacts of vaccination. Measles is a very contagious disease. Without vaccination, a single case could infect sixteen other people. Then those sixteen could infect sixteen. Very rapidly you have an epidemic.
With people dying.
To maintain herd immunity for measles, over 90% of the population should be vaccinated. Anti-vaxxers hurt us all, and increase the possibility of an epidemic by not vaccinating against measles.
This is because in every community there are people who for various reasons can not be vaccinated. They are young infants or the elderly or have weakened immune systems.
We get vaccinated for ourselves but our vaccinations also help our communities, protecting the lives of those who can not be protected by vaccination.
Anti-vaxxers, in their personal selfishness, put those people at risk. It is one thing to make a decision about your own life, wrong and ill-informed as that decision may be. But it is another to put other people’s lives at risk.