Anti-vaccination stances are harming American children.
Jake Wagner covered anti-vaccine protests in Washington yesterday, pretty thoroughly I might add. But we need to truly understand the danger that those wishing to avoid vaccinating their children are posing to the country.
Back in 2014, there was a large scale outbreak of measles
centered in Disneyland. Even more recently, 56 cases of measles have appeared
in Washington and Oregon. A vaccine scare in the Philippines caused the death
of 70 individuals due to measles.
But an outbreak of any significance, especially of a disease
such as measles, can only mean that the anti-vaccination crowd is growing.
Social media has only made the problem worse and it is putting a lot more
people at risk for some dubious scientific claims.
In an article for Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics, Ayelet Evrony and Arthur Caplan posit that:
Undoubtedly, organized anti-vaccination groups have contributed to the drop in vaccination compliance and anxieties concerning vaccination. These groups often have a strong presence on social media and well-developed websites that attract people to their cause. But these sites have drawn very little critical attention. In order to combat falling vaccination rates, it is important for those supporting vaccination to be aware of, examine, and counter the claims of these groups.(Evrony, A, & Caplan, A. (2017). The overlooked dangers of anti-vaccination groups’ social media presence. Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics , 13(6), 1475-1476. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2017.1283467
Certainly, as conservatives we are not out to destroy or
limit any person’s right to free speech. It can also be difficult from a
conservative viewpoint to propose government intervention.
But we may need it. There has been considerable backlash
from teens that have not been vaccinated by their parents recently, some even
going to incredible lengths to receive vaccinations behind their parent’s
We must encourage these individuals to seek out what should
be required of all members of society. Just this week, hundreds protested in
Washington seeking to keep their children unvaccinated. We have seen the degradation
of human life in the United States and I fear that anti-vaxxers are disguising
their “choice” as personal freedom. But like our arguments against abortion,
the choice should be limited as it is not a parent’s decision to make because
it is a separate individual.
We have an obligation as a society to protect the innocent
among us. If that includes ensuring children are properly protected from
diseases that have been close to eradicated from the Earth, then so be it.
Science and research have proven that vaccinations are safe and effective. Let
us not make the same mistake in allowing these diseases back into the world.