Friday, February 6, 2015

No Vaccine For Stupidity or Fear

So here we are in the 21st century and there appears to be a debate about vaccines. It seems the stupidity of the few is causing headaches for the many as the paranoia about vaccinating our children has caused not unexpectedly dire results. An outbreak of measles at Disneyland in California is an example of the negative side of not getting children their vaccinations. 

I'm not saying we should all be in blind lockstep behind whatever the government would have us do with no questions at all. But vaccines have been proven to work. Childhood diseases that used to kill children were at least contained or all but eliminated thanks to the development of vaccines and the effective schedules for providing those vaccines. 

What has not been proven is the fear that vaccines cause other problems in children such as autism. This is fear mongering promulgated by the internet and endorsed by celebrities and politicians. Any links between vaccines and the impairment of childhood development is at best circumstantial. 

Medical practitioners are pretty much in agreement that vaccines work. Most regular people are of a similar mindset. But enough of a subset of people who are slaves to stupidity and fear are jeopardizing everybody else. And if that doesn't sound familiar, let me point you in the direction of politics for the last 15 years or so. 

It's no coincidence that it's GOP politicians who are stumbling over this issue. Why? Because there are enough of these nut cases back in their home districts that put them into power in the first place who will eat up yet another message of liberal government overreach. It's another grab at your freedom by a US government out of control. You should have the freedom to decide if your kids get vaccinated or not. The government shouldn't be telling you what to do. 

The problem of playing the "get government off your back" card on this issue is that the lives of children are at stake as well as the health and safety of the general public. Protecting health and safety is something the government is supposed to be there for. You know, it's right there in the preamble to Constitution: "promote the general welfare".  

Off the subject of the vaccines but in sort of the same vein, the junior Senator from North Carolina, Thom Tillis, used the requirement in restaurants that all employees must wash their hands as an example of government overregulation and overreach. Really! Thom's bright idea is to only require restaurants to post signs if they don't require employees to wash their hands and the market place will take care of the rest. Really really! 

I'm not sure how the regulation of requiring employees to wash their hands is hampering American business other than it costs money for soap, paper towels, water and whatever cost there is for printing a flyer that says all employees must wash their hands. It seems to me that whatever costs or inconveniences that are caused by such a regulation are greatly outweighed by the greater mission of protecting the health of restaurant patrons and employees. And what about the lost revenue when a restaurant has to shut down due to an outbreak of Hepatitis B and the subsequent damage to that establishment's reputation and further lost revenues as a result?  

Bringing this back around to vaccines, I think part of the problem is we've become so myopic to our own needs that we forget there is a world around us that can be affected by what we do or say. Sometimes there are things we do that don't help us individually as much as it protects others in our communities. 

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush who may be running for the GOP's presidential nomination told a gathering in Detroit that people should get vaccinated. No further discussion, no elaboration. To Bush, it was a simple answer to a needlessly complex problem. But for those who feel otherwise, small in number but virulent in nature, further discussion would be a waste of time. After all, there is no vaccine for stupidity or fear. 

Y'all be good to one another. 

Dave-El 
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You  

Spinner Rack Flashback: June 1977

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