I approve of this:
Washington State Makes It Harder to Opt Out of ImmunizationsIt embarrasses me that so much of this resistance to vaccination comes from our side of the political ledger:
Washington State is home to Bill and Melinda Gates, champions of childhood vaccines across the globe. Its university boasts cutting-edge vaccine research. But when it comes to getting children immunized, until recently, the state was dead last.
"You think we're a cut above the rest," said Dr. Maxine Hayes, state health officer for Washington's Department of Health, "but there's something in this culture out West. It's a sort of defiance. A distrust of the government."
The share of kindergartners whose parents opted out of state immunization requirements more than doubled in the decade that ended in 2008, peaking at 7.6 percent in the 2008-9 school year, according to the state's Health Department, raising alarm among public health experts. But last year, the Legislature adopted a law that makes it harder for parents to avoid getting their children vaccinated, by requiring them to get a doctor's signature if they wish to do so. Since then, the opt-out rate has fallen fast, by a quarter, setting an example for other states with easy policies....
Parents who refuse vaccines tend to be more educated, and often more affluent than the average, researchers say.I feel about this the way I feel about teaching evolution in the schools: Yeah, this is America, which means you're free to believe what you want and say what you want, but science says you're wrong. Period. Full stop. So society needs for your kids to know the truth about how life has developed on this planet, and society needs your kids to be immunized unless there's a damn good reason.
Jonathan Bell, a naturopathic doctor in Washington State who encourages his patients to vaccinate their children. Those who opt out, he said, tend to distrust the public health establishment because of what they see as its unsavory connections with the pharmaceutical industry. "The argument is, 'Oh no, I'm putting off vaccines,'" he said. "'I'm part of a group that's smart enough to understand the government is a pawn of big pharma.'"
I'm glad that (apart from Donald Trump) the anti-vaccine movement isn't really linked to the right. Can you imagine if vaccine skepticism were seized on by the right-wing noise machine? It would spread like wildfire. A third of Americans simply wouldn't vaccinate their children, insisting that the health effects of vaccination are just a "theory." Every Republican in Congress would have to sign an anti-vaccine pledge. There'd be movements to make vaccines illegal in the red states, and dispensers of vaccines would be defunded in those states, and their offices would be shut down. Right-wing billionaires would bankroll documentaries linking vaccination to Hitler and eugenicism, and the Fox/talk radio crazies would flock to those documentaries, which would break box-office records. Half the books on the bestseller list would have covers depicting Democratic politicians as Dr. Mengele.
So maybe we're sort of lucky.