Congratulations to anti-vaxxers on their success in 2013!
As 2013 comes to a close, anti-vaxxers can raise their glasses of organic, free-range eggnog and pat themselves on the back for their continued success in getting other people sick. As you know, people are often unaware of the dangerous consequences of the anti-vaccine movement. The average bear feels safe and sound knowing that most people around him are responsible and are fully vaccinated, and as such, he is not in danger of catching, say, measles. Yesterday, the CDC poked a hole in that bubble of safety in conducting a press conference regarding measles. To date, there have been 175 cases of the disease reported to the CDC, far above the expected number of 60. It must be noted that the U.S. outbreaks have two main features: first, they all arise from imported cases; and second, the outbreaks rage through unvaccinated populations.
CDC director Tom Frieden came forth with a strong statement regarding the effect of those the unvaccinated on the continued spread of measles in the United States and worldwide:
“It is not a failure of the vaccine,” Frieden said. “It’s a failure to vaccinate”.
A small proportion of those who are unvaccinated may be those who face barriers to vaccination. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the largest group of those who are not protected from diseases like measles are those who choose not to be vaccinated, as illustrated by the outbreak at Eagle Mountain International Church in Texas.
Meanwhile, the anti-vaxxers sneer at measles, conveniently forgetting that:
1. It can cause encephalitis and yes, death; and
2. It will result in serious harm to the healthcare system; and
3. The rest of us don’t want to be exposed to measles because you are too stupid to vaccinate.
So, anti-vaxxers, you are responsible for the measles outbreaks in the United States. Congratulations on your success in using misinformation to prevent vaccination from life-threatening diseases because you, and only you, understand science better than 99.9% of physicians, nurses, and public health practitioners. I’ll bet that makes you feel pretty good right now. But you’re not coming to my holiday party.