The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015


It's really too bad there isn't a vaccine against ideologically-driven thinking that conflicts with both critical thinking and the overwhelming preponderance of medical evidence. Two GOP presidential hopefuls—Rand Paul and Chris Christie recently stated that they support public vaccination of all children, but then suggested that the right not to vaccinate one's children is all about "personal freedom." Both have walked back that part of their comments. The left leaning media jumped on this, and their prevailing meme du jour is that the far right is the main perpetrator of the anti-vaccine movement. It is true that there are those on the far right who are anti-vaccination, but the far left is equally culpable.

When asked where major pockets of anti-vaccination sentiment existed in the United States, and MIT researcher replied wryly (paraphrasing): 'Put a pin at the location of every Whole Foods store and you'll have a pretty good idea.'

The Wall Street Journal provides some perspective:
The claims about vaccine risks go back to a 1998 article in The Lancet in which British doctor Andrew Wakefield claimed to have found a link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. But the real menace was Mr. Wakefield, whose findings were proven to be fraudulent and who was on the payroll of the plaintiffs bar. The Lancet retracted the article in 2010, and Mr. Wakefield lost his medical license.

Yet the virus of fear was released, and it infected and was carried by the likes of celebrity Jenny McCarthy and former GOP Member of Congress Dan Burton. A favorite theory of anti-vaccine activists is that too many shots at one time can overwhelm the immune system, triggering autism. Mr. Paul’s reference to mental “disorders” is a dog whistle (perhaps unintentional) to autism fears.

Vaccines do have side effects, most of them minor. In rare cases they can lead to deafness, seizures, comas or brain damage. As the Centers for Disease Control points out, these outcomes are “so rare that it is hard to tell whether they are caused by the vaccine.”

The website of the American Academy of Pediatrics contains a list of more than 40 studies that refute the Wakefield-autism claims. “These studies do not show any link between autism and MMR vaccine, thimerosal [a preservative], multiple vaccines given at once, fevers or seizures,” concludes the AAP.

One irony is that vaccine anxiety is most common in privileged communities of the liberal elite. The California schools with some of the lowest rates of immunization are clustered in the organic-food-and-yoga realms of Santa Monica and Beverly Hills. Most states provide religious exemptions to school vaccine mandates. The states that have seen vaccination rates fall are the 20 that also allow “philosophical” exemptions.
There seems to be plenty of idiocy to go around. In 2008, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton expressed direct concerns about vaccinations, although both have jettisoned those concerns today -- good for them. It is odd, though, that the media never paid much attention to their early concerns, even though (even at that time) they were out of the mainstream.

It is true that science is never settled (a simple fact that climate alarmists cannot process), but it's also clear that the best medical science we have today indicates that the dangers to individual children and to the public at large from a lack of vaccinations far, far outweigh the potential risks.