I was scrolling through facebook a few minutes ago and ran across this article from Upworthy.com posted by none other than one of my heroes, Kevin Folta. I skimmed through the article and then was blown away by the accompanying graphic (see below) that so keenly and colorfully exposes the bad science all around the infamous ‘study’ by Andre Wakefield & colleagues, as well as those who came after, linking vaccines with autism. (I am reposting the graphic under a creative commons license. Due to the limitations of my device, the graphic is reproduced in sections.)
Since then science and the rational movement have been fighting an uphill battle to get the public back on track about the benefit vs. risk of vaccines. Granted, some of the push back against vaccines stems not from the science, but from anti-corporate sentiment. The drug companies are out to fleece us, yes, of course there is that and understandably so, but when push comes to shove, vaccines protect against illness. Period. Do drug companies profit from vaccines? Yes they do but every time you buy a new iphone, so does Apple. We tend to pick on some companies and not others.
Several years back my elderly mother and I made a visit to Ashland, Oregon, one of the anti-vax stalwarts of the movement. Now I admit this account is purely anecdotal, but I’ll be damned if she didn’t return from Ashland with a nasty case of whooping cough that almost killed her. She made three trips via the ambulance to the hospital because her airway was so completely blocked by phlegm tossed about by the violent coughing. And I couldn’t help but wonder if this outbreak could have been avoided.
If you’re on the fence about vaccinating your child, please take a close look at this.