The number of confirmed cases of measles in the United States stands, as of this moment, at 152.
That's twice as many cases as usually seen in a year, and it's only June.
Why so many? In the article linked above, it's made clear: parents aren't vaccinating their kids. The reasons for that are numerous: religious exemptions, anti-vaccination propaganda, ignorance, or perhaps even just laziness. But the bottom line is that kids are getting sick.
And if you don't think measles is that big a deal, watch this:
That is one of many stories from people who have dealt with their children getting sick... and some who have had their children die. The website Shot by Shot gives the very human and all-too-often tragic side of what happens when people don't vaccinate. The site is put together by the wonderful people at California Immunization Coalition.
The leaders of the antivaccination movement say they speak out because they care about the children. When I see stories like these, from parents who are destroyed by the loss or serious illness of the children, I question those antivaccination advocates. And we know that when trying to sway opinion, just stating facts rarely works against antiscience claims like those of antivaxxers. I'm hoping that more parents see stories like the ones at Shot by Shot. We have the facts on our side, but we also need to touch these parents' hearts before they'll see the truth.
Thanks to my friend and one of my heroes, Dr. Joe Albietz, for the link to these stories.