Anti-Vax Men: Diseases of Future Past
Remember Ebola? You know, the disease that's still ravaging Western Africa, and has been for years? Though you probably know it best for it's American tour in which exactly zero Americans died but everyone freaked out over like 13 year old girls freaked out about Twilight ending.
I'm also sure you remember H1N1, Swine Flu, Bird Flu, Red Flu, Green Flu, Three Flu, Four Flu... Dr. Seuss published a paper on them all. In each and every one of these supposed pandemics, the media acted like the end of Western Civilization as we know it was coming to an end. This, despite the fact that these viruses killed a paltry thousand or so in their wake. As the great Agent K from Men in Black so aptly stated: "A person is smart. People are dumb, stupid, panicky animals and you know it." To which Will Smith said something witty and charming.
Americans are at the pinnacle of the 'dumb, stupid, panicky animal' kingdom. It's pretty much the only thing we excel at any more. When it comes to actual threats, however, we tend to not care. Global Warming? Meh. I've always wanted a pool in my basement. Racial tensions between police and minorities? As a white person I've never seen this problem. The crumbling of our financial systems built on easy credit and unbridled avarice? I don't know what any of that means, but I want an X-box One and a PlayStation 4 for my birthday.
One of these actual threats is the flu. Unlike the above listed diseases, the seasonal flu kills millions of people every year. How could this possibly happen, you ask? In the year 2015 the only diseases we shouldn't have cured is Cancer and Aids, and we're pretty close to solving the one that we don't blame on gay people. The flu is too banal, too common to be so dangerous (This is the main reason the media doesn't raise the alarm on the issue). Well, the reason is people just aren't getting vaccinated anymore. Sure, they'll get the important ones when they're young and it gets them a sucker and a day out of school, but as adults we seem to be slacking.
Some of this is just pure laziness, which is at least forgivable. Recently, though, a reason for opting out of vaccination (all of them) is the belief that they themselves cause disease. See, it's all part of Big Pharma's plot to make money by giving people Autism. Or it's a depopulation scheme by the Illuminati. Depends how often you listen to Alex Jones. As a result the flu is killing more people each year than it had been in previous years. Even worse, old diseases are now making a comeback.
The measles, even polio is now on the rise again, especially in poor and uneducated parts of the world. This used to be because vaccinations weren't available, now it's because Kuntakente heard from a village who heard from another village who heard from Jenny McCarthy who heard from Samantha, who has a crush on Kuntakente (OMG don't tell him!) that vaccines are a curse from the white devil. I mean, white people can be dicks but we've never tried to hide it. If we're going to kill you, you'll know it's happening and we'll explain to you beforehand why it's justified and what Jesus would want.
"As a result of this often quoted "study" literally millions of people have died from easily preventable diseases.
Regardless, all of this nonsense goes back to a 1998 Lancet article (now retracted and disavowed) by Andrew Wakefield, a doctor who is now no longer a doctor because he broke the Hippocratic Oath (there has to be a clause in there about not being a giant douchenozzle). Wakefield used shoddy research and non-peer reviewed sources to write the most damaging piece since Woodward and Bernstein ruined Richard Nixon's attempt to get on Mount Rushmore. As a result of this often quoted "study" literally millions of people have died from easily preventable diseases.
In America, the land of the snake-oil salesman, home of the gullible idiot, we're now starting to see a similar trend. Now, as we enter a new year, the flu has reached epidemic levels. I hope this can be attributed to apathy, like the midterms, but the cynic in me sees the anti-vax movement as the prime culprit. It hurts me, as a Liberal, to see this kind of stupidity coming from my own ranks. The right has their fair of imbecilic claptrap, but creationism doesn't cause the deaths of millions. Climate change denial isn't leading to the direct rise in a disease that kills children and old people. If we don't stop Global Warming it'll kill a lot of people, but it will be all of us and in the distant future, so it's not quite as pertinent.
Study, after study of the actually scientific, peer reviewed kind, don't seem to be enough to stop the hordes of anti-intellectuals singularly determined to prove to our posterity that democracy doesn't work.
Even if the claims of Autism links were true (they're not) the benefits far outweigh the risks. Even if Aunt Linda got the vaccine and still got the flu (she's just old) the benefits far outweigh the risks. Even if you think your child belongs to you so it's perfectly acceptable to endanger them and everyone else (including those who are unable to get vaccinations, like chemo patients) the benefits far outweigh the risks. It doesn't matter how many blogs you've read, or how many pamphlets the college-age Rob Zombie look-alike handed out to you at Whole Foods, there is no evidence for a link between vaccines and Autism. The only evidence of a causal relationship that can be found here is the one between getting vaccinated and not dying as much.
"It doesn't matter how many blogs you've read, or how many pamphlets the college-age Rob Zombie look-alike handed out to you at Whole Foods, there is no evidence for a link between vaccines and Autism.
I know you don't trust doctors as much as you trust radio personalities or that "doctor" you heard speak at the Marriott about what the book of Revelations really means, but facts are stubborn things. If you don't want to get the flu, or spread it, or allow it to mutate into a vaccine resistant strain... you need to get vaccinated. It's socially responsible and personally intelligent. Pretend it's the Ebola vaccine if it makes you feel more comfortable. You'll be just as likely to get Ebola as you were prior.
What was that? Will I get the vaccine?
Hell no. That shit involves needles.
I'd rather just die.