I knew that I was going to write this blog post about the
news concerning the resurgence of measles and its relationship to the dangerous
and misguided anti-vaccination movement. The difficulty was with all the lunacy
out there I did not quite know where to start. I grew up in the era prior to
vaccination against childhood diseases. I had measles, mumps, rubella and
chicken pox. I remember the fear people had of these infectious diseases and
even as a child I was aware of how welcome these immunizations were when they
became available. It seems absolutely inconceivable that decades later people
are advocating against vaccines and placing their children and others at risk
of infection with potentially devastating diseases.
There now seems to be a perfect storm of parents making poor
choices for their children, a few vocal physicians giving bad advice, a
staggering number of ill-informed celebrities saying truly stupid things, and
political cowardice and hypocrisy failing to react appropriately. Let’s talk
about the history leading to this unfortunate circumstance. Keep in mind that
in the year 2000 measles was considered to have been vanquished in the US.
There were a few dozen cases all contracted by people who had travelled
overseas. However, these few cases were not transmitted to others because the
rate of immunization was so high, despite the high level of contagiousness.
This circumstance has now changed with people forgoing the vaccinations and
like-minded people creating communities with high levels of the unvaccinated.
This whole mess is largely attributable to the malfeasance
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.