I will keep this short. I have to, because otherwise this will degenerate into me ranting and screaming at people for letting kids suffer and even die unnecessarily (so um, yeah, if you’re a staunch anti-vax person, you can go ahead and assume I’m about to read you the riot act here).
Vaccinations save lives. Vaccines are developed solely for fighting against the nastiest diseases that kill the most people in the most horrific ways. There are an increasing number of outbreaks of horrible things we thought we had eradicated through the wonders of modern science – whooping cough, measles, polio. Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence that exists showing that, 1) the idiot who said vaccines cause autism was an idiotic nut-job, a fraud, and completely, totally wrong; and, 2) vaccines save lives; some supposedly smart people have stopped vaccinating their kids. And they are for some strange reason feeling very self-righteous about that decision.
The most frightening part of this is that people are doing this primarily in urban centers or in concentrations of like-minded people (megachurches, religious sub-communities, big cities like New York and San Francisco), which makes the diseases even more likely to spread quickly and the herd immunity to suffer even more. We need that herd immunity. It helps protect even those who can’t be vaccinated due to autoimmune problems or cancer treatment or allergies or being just plain too young (newborns). It helps protect those who have forgotten to get their boosters. It keeps things from spreading and turning into epidemics and even pandemics.
This is where STEM education becomes even more important – because anyone who remotely paid attention in middle school science should be able to grasp the science behind why vaccines work, why they are critical, and why the celebrities refusing to vaccinate their kids are not only stupid, but reckless.
Seriously, vaccinate your kids. Do your own research and decide for yourself, but do it with the evidence of peer-reviewed, credible studies, not through some glossy tabloid magazine or because a chipper talk show host told you so. And make sure you and your kids get a decent science education (and all your vaccinations!) so we don’t continue to perpetuate this madness and these senseless, deadly, totally preventable outbreaks.