Anti-vaccination hysteria isn’t just a set of wild conspiracy claims, it’s become a big business. And like any business, the business owners aren’t about to close up shop in the face of facts. Indeed, they don’t view recent press on the topic as a a setback, they see it as an opportunity to pitch their debunked claims to a whole new audience. Among those long debunked claims now cropping up anew is this is one, laid to rest by Mark Chu-Carroll at Good Math, Bad Math:
[T]here’s a paradox that some antivaccine people use in their arguments. If you look at an outbreak of an illness that we vaccinate for, you’ll frequently find that more vaccinated people become ill than unvaccinated. Therefore, they say, it’s not the fault of the unvaccinated. We’ll look at the math to see the problem with that.
Mark’s post is well worth reading in its entirety. But here’s the short version in non-medical terms: imagine 100,000 seat belt users and 100 non seat belt users are involved in identical rollover collisions. If a thousand seat belt users are killed and 25 non seat belt users are killed, then 97.5 percent of those killed were wearing seat belts! Does this mean buckling up is more risky? No, in fact it means the opposite. In this hypothetical illustration, non seat belt wearers were 25 times more likely to be killed.
Math alway as outs those who cannot make a logical argument and rely on ‘gut’ reactions. Denying reality is the resort of those trying to maintain their Cargo Cult worlds.
Anti-vaxxers are making the choice to put others who are weaker at risk, as well as costing all of us a lot of money dealing with epidemics. With Colorado having vaccination rates below herd immunity levels, it will get worse.