Antivaxxers must be stopped! NOW.

The entire universe in blog form
Aug. 22 2008 2:30 PM

Antivaxxers must be stopped! NOW.

Antivaxxers are people who think vaccinations cause health problems, most notably autism. This is despite study after study showing them to be wrong; there simply is no link between vaccines and autism. While there can be isolated reactions to vaccines, they are very rare, and the overall health benefits of vaccines vastly -- vastly -- outweigh the negatives.

But these antiscience crusaders are starting to have an effect, and it's a bad one: measles outbreaks in the U.S. are on the rise. In the first seven months of 2008 there have been seven outbreaks -- a typical year has just one -- with over 130 reports of measles infections, compared to just 42 last year in total. Of these cases, 122 children were either unvaccinated or have unknown vaccination status. That's 93%.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Advertisement

As it happens, there have been no deaths from these outbreaks yet, though over a dozen kids were hospitalized.

The overall vaccination rate in the U.S. probably hasn't dropped significantly, but these outbreaks are probably due to pockets of people not vaccinating their kids. Some are from home-schoolers, others due to religious reasons... but I will guarantee that a lot of this is due to the antivaxxers spread of lies, and smearing of the medical community. We've seen it before, and we'll see it again.

This part of the article is telling:

The nation once routinely saw hundreds of thousands of measles cases each year, and hundreds of deaths. But immunization campaigns were credited with dramatically reducing the numbers. The last time health officials saw this many cases was 1997, when 138 were reported.

Vaccinations work, and they save lives. Don't believe the lies. Do the research yourself. I did, and I'm convinced the antivaxxers are wrong. And in some cases, they're dead wrong.

Help stop them. Educate yourself, and talk about this with people. If you have a friend who is considering not vaccinating their kids, send them here, or here, or especially here. Give them the facts. They need it, to fight the onslaught of antiscience they are likely to find elsewhere.

Fight. Literally, kids' lives depend on it.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

What Hillary Clinton’s Iowa Remarks Reveal About Her 2016 Fears

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

John Oliver Pleads for Scotland to Stay With the U.K.

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Jurisprudence

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police

The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 1:51 PM Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police
  News & Politics
Frame Game
Sept. 15 2014 5:13 PM Hard Knocks I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 5:26 PM Robin Thicke’s Bizarre “Blurred Lines” Deposition Is Both Unflattering and Convenient
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 8:41 PM You’re Cut, Adrian Peterson Why fantasy football owners should release the Minnesota Vikings star.