Monday, April 30, 2012
Beating The Unvaccinated Horse
Freep on the vax compromise:
Dorian Yates of Strafford is among those who has been vocal as part of a group called the Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice...and said she thinks a majority of Vermonters support parental choice on vaccinations.
Yates said she opposes the conferees’ agreement even though it keeps the philosophical exemption in law. The bill offers no firm definition of vaccination rate to give her assurance how it will be measured, she said.
It's risible enough that these folks are't happy with getting to keep the unconscionable "philosophical" exemption (now called "personal", which also upsets them). But then they say that they "think" a majority of Vermonters support them. How unfortunate that there's no polling data available for the state, but I don't "think" we would deviate too much from the national norm: 69% of Americans think vaccination should be mandatory, and 82% of scientists.
That's the big problem: they "think" they know a lot things, but give lie to any real knowledge almost as soon as they open their mouths (or browsers). While I've been called "irrational" and "naive" regarding this topic, I'm not sure it's credible coming from people who assert that this compromise by our representative legislature imposes "martial law" and is a form of "violence" (really, with no provision of fines or prison for non-compliance, you're expecting jackbooted thugs to break down your door?).
I don't find the complaints about how the Health Dept determines immunization rates to be any more compelling than their cries of tyranny. First of all, it's a damned good thing that the Leg allows the agencies to set goals and respond to public health needs without micromanaging. I've also looked at the same data the anti-vaxxers have--I have no qualms about how it's been reported, and apparently most legislators concur.
What's more, I find it curious that the Vaccine Philosophers tout high immunization rates as a reason to allow them exemptions. In other words, please allow us to avoid the risks we fear while benefitting from your taking those same risks. It's an individual NIMBY syndrome, putting the entire public health at risk. But hey, go ahead and exercise that choice: you can educate and care for your children in your own backyard!
Having talked about this with a wide array of people of late, inevitably the issue of cultural memory has come up. I would very much be interested in the demographic breakdown of vax resistance since most of the older generations appear to support mandatory immunization while refuseniks seem to be younger. A divide between people who remember the outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics before vaccines eliminated or mitigated the most common, devastating illnesses and those of us who have enjoyed lives more or less free of preventable disease?
It brings to mind Jared Diamond's Collapse:
In many prehistoric societies the mean human generation time—average number of years between births of parents and of their children—was only a few decades. Hence towards the end of a string of wet decades, most people alive would have had no ﬁrsthand memory of the previous period of dry climate. Even today, there is a human tendency to increase production and population during good decades, forgetting (or, in the past, never realizing) that such decades were unlikely to last. When the good decades then do end, the society ﬁnds itself with more populationthan can be supported, or with ingrained habits unsuitable to the new climate conditions.
Not an exact analogy--external factors versus our own choices--but consider that if you've never experienced the pre-vax bad times, you might take for granted a world that's fundamentally safe from historical infectious monsters. Our health security will go the way of the last tree on Easter Island if people keep chopping at our herd immunity because they've forgotten how we got here.
PS--Sorry that I lied about being done with this...
April 30, 2012 | Permalink
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