The mainstream media is doing its best this week to convince the American public that the anti-vaccination movement is some sort of conservative cause due to statements about vaccines being voluntary made by Rand Paul and Chris Christie. Hattip to Ed Driscoll for the interview below from 2011 that explains that the anti-vaccination movement has almost entirely been a left wing cause:
Journalist Seth Mnookin’s new book, The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear, explores the public health scare over vaccines and autism. The 1998 paper in The Lancet by British physician Andrew Wakefield that sparked the panic has long since been debunked and retracted, and Wakefield himself has been barred from practicing medicine and accused of fraud. But that hasn’t stopped thousands of people from refusing to vaccinate their children out of fear that they could become autistic.
Mnookin warns of grave consequences. Recent outbreaks of measles, whooping cough, and other preventable infections have sickened thousands of children and killed more than a dozen in the United States. Vaccine rates are falling below the level needed to prevent an outbreak in a growing number of communities, including ones with wealthy, educated populations.
S.M.: It’s dangerous to make broad generalizations about a group, but anecdotally and from the overall data that’s been collected it seems to be people who are very actively involved in every possible decision regarding their children’s lives. I think it relates to a desire to take uncertainty out of the equation. And autism represents such an unknown. We still don’t know what causes it and we still don’t have good answers for how to treat it. So I think that fear really resonates.
Also I think there’s a fair amount of entitlement. Not vaccinating your child is basically saying I deserve to rely on the herd immunity that exists in a population. At the most basic level it’s saying I believe vaccines are potentially harmful, and I want other people to vaccinate so I don’t have to. And for people to hide under this and say, “Oh, it’s just a personal decision,” it’s being dishonest. It’s a personal decision in the way drunk driving is a personal decision. It has the potential to affect everyone around you.
I talked to a public health official and asked him what’s the best way to anticipate where there might be higher than normal rates of vaccine noncompliance, and he said take a map and put a pin wherever there’s a Whole Foods. I sort of laughed, and he said, “No, really, I’m not joking.” It’s those communities with the Prius driving, composting, organic food-eating people. Continue Reading