Let me start off by saying that I'm not out to demonize people who mistakenly believe that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they prevent. Those people simply are misinformed.
I'm pretty sure that most of those involved with the anti-vaccine movement are quite different from global warming deniers.
The fossil fuel industry uses false information to keep money flowing into their coffers. Sure, pharmaceutical companies do make money from from vaccines, but vaccines are safe and effective.
(Some do have side effects, such as the new shingles vaccine that my wife and I had brief bad reactions to, but we were pleased to trade those side effects for a greatly reduced risk of getting shingles.)
The 2019 Oregon legislature is doing the right thing by considering a bill that would eliminate the ability of parents to deny their children the measles vaccine because of philosophical or religious reasons.
As public health officials work to tamp down a measles outbreak in the Portland metro area, Oregon lawmakers are preparing to take up legislation that would increase the number of children vaccinated for the disease.
State Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, confirmed to OPB on Thursday that he’s ordered up a bill to eliminate a provision of Oregon law that allows parents to forego vaccinations for their kids because of religious or philosophical reasons.
This makes so much sense, it's hard to see why anybody would oppose the bill. Children's health -- even their lives, since measles used to kill 400 to 500 Americans a year before vaccines were introduced -- shouldn't be held hostage to their parents' mistaken belief that vaccines are harmful.
They aren't. This is a scientific fact. A major study reported on recently found no link between the measles vaccine and autism.
A major decade-long study has found there is no link between the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine and autism, even among children with other risk factors for the disorder.
The study examined every child born in Denmark between 1999 and 2010, a group of more than 650,000.
The study found no increased risk of developing autism after getting the MMR vaccine, no clustering of autism cases among children who were given the vaccine, and no increase in the rate of autism among susceptible children who were given the vaccine.
What's bothersome is that so many parents aren't willing to look at the scientific evidence. Their false beliefs lead them to become strong opponents of efforts to increase vaccination rates by taking away the ability of parents to deny their children health-promoting vaccines for anything other than medical reasons.
An Oregonian story reported that hundreds of people opposed Rep. Greenlick's bill.
After three hours of testimony on a bill that would eliminate most vaccine exemptions, 180 people still waited to speak their minds. Nearly all of them were there to oppose House Bill 3063, which the Oregon Legislature has taken up in the midst of one of the largest measles outbreaks the Pacific Northwest has ever seen.
The chairwoman of the House Committee on Health Care prioritized people who had traveled from within Oregon to get to the Capitol, and about 75 people were able to speak. Rep. Andrea Salinas, D-Lake Oswego, said that as of the 3 p.m. start time, more than 1,000 written documents had been submitted for the record at such a rapid pace that workers putting the documents online couldn’t keep up.
It's really disturbing that these anti-vaxxers are being duped by medical professionals who either aren't familiar with vaccine science, or choose to ignore that science for reasons I'm unable to fathom. The Oregonian story says:
However, groups that oppose mandatory vaccinations are effective at turning out large crowds to quash these efforts in many states. Oregonians for Medical Freedom, the leading group that opposes vaccinations, was at Thursday night’s hearing, as well as Portland Dr. Paul Thomas, a prominent voice in the anti-vaccination movement.
He told lawmakers that they would create hundreds of cases of autism if they approved the bill. His contention, which was echoed by many others at the hearing, is based on debunked reports that claimed a link between vaccines and autism.
Note: debunked reports that claimed a link between vaccines and autism. There is no connection between vaccines and autism. Anyone who says this is either lying or misinformed. Hopefully the Oregon legislature will pass House Bill 3063.
Like I said, the health of children is way more important than allowing their parents to act on their false beliefs about the dangers of vaccines.