Anti-vaccination – how selfishness puts society at risk

 Sabina Rai receives a vaccination from Health Worker Jiban Poudel at the temporary Batulechaur Health Post, Pokhara, Nepal

Measles Is Spreading In Our Largest Cities Because People Aren’t Vaccinating Their Kids
[Via Think Progress]

New York City is currently grappling with a measles outbreak. Health officials have identified 16 cases of the highly contagious infectious disease, resulting in at least six hospitalizations, and are now warning unvaccinated individuals that they need to get their shots.

And New York isn’t the only place where measles — which was once so rare that it was virtually eradicated in the U.S. back in 2000 — is cropping up again. Within the past two months, health officials have also identified cases in the Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, and Dallas areas. Measles have also recently been reported in suburban areas in Connecticut and Illinois.

Just one case of measles can pose a huge public health threat, since it has the potential to be transmitted quickly. It can spread through the air when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. For instance, last month, thousands of California commuters were potentially exposed to the disease after an unvaccinated man with the measles rode public transportation.

Many of the measles outbreaks here in the U.S. originate after an unvaccinated individual has traveled abroad and contracted the disease there. Then, when they return to this country, they can spread measles among pockets of other unvaccinated people. This isn’t an issue if most people simply get the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. That’s why San Francisco didn’t experience a larger outbreak after the recent public transportation scare there — the rates of MMR vaccination in that city are high.

But, thanks to ongoing anti-vaccine propaganda, that’s not necessarily the case everywhere. An increasing


Measles is highly contagious. One person can infect 12 to 18 people easily. 

Herd immunity is why vaccination is important. Vaccination protects individuals but its major impact on society is the ability of herd immunity to protect the weakest in the society. If 94% of the people are vaccinated against measles, they protect those who, for whatever reason, are not vaccinated. The disease simply cannot spread because it cannot find hosts.

So the old and very young who cannot be immunized (i.e. those with compromised immune systems)  are protected by the actions of society. The people of the society spread out the risk by vaccinating so they can protect the weakest members.

Those who refuse to vaccinated for personal reasons are actually selfish parasites on the society, getting the benefits of herd immunity while refusing to take part in helping those who cannot help themselves.

They selfishly refuse to take any risk, no matter how slight, while significantly endangering the lives of many.

And when that selfishness leads to low vaccination rates, we get outbreaks that not only cost the society a lot of money but can kill people.

As this report states, 80% of those who get the measles in this outbreak were never vaccinated. Their selfishness caused this, as it has caused other outbreaks of infectious disease.

They simply do not care about young children or elderly that will die because of these disease outbreaks.

No child should be allowed in a public school without a complete set of vaccinations. don’t have them – then get home schooled. If you want to gain the benefits of a modern society, you have to also take some of the responsibilities inherent in that society.

One of those should be not making your fellow members ill.