With the first measles death in 12 years being reported recently and California’s blocking the personal beliefs exemption has brought up the anti-vaccination discussion. The people who oppose vaccinations have come under fire again. In everything I have read, one important fact about the so called anti-vaxxers has always been left out. The fact that they love their children.
While their detractors make a lot of noise and call them names, no one will recognize that these people love their children and truly want what is best for them. The anti-vax crowd are not devoid of intelligence, instead I would say that they do more research and speak with other people more than most of the people that let the doctors inject their children without question. That research is their strength but also their biggest downfall.
Too much research without the proper context or full understanding is bad. Yes, there are chemicals in vaccinations but the level is so incredibly small that they can’t do any harm. Putting a few drops of bleach in a gallon of water will help purify it in a survival situation but drinking bleach straight is deadly. Same with vaccinations. It all has to do with the amount, not the just the substance. Google Dihydrogen Monoxide to see what happens when something is overhyped incorrectly.
This need to research was their downfall because the research they based their beliefs on was wrong. We are supposed to trust doctors when they publish because their studies have to have strict controls, be peer reviewed by other experts in the field and have mountains of data to support their findings. So the finding, no matter how dramatic, should be trusted. So when a doctor comes out with a study that says something horrible about vaccinations it should be solid.
And that is what happened, smart people that love their children and did the research had real, legitimate concerns about vaccinations. At one point it was all over the media with celebrities jumping on the bandwagon and supporting the manufactured claims. Then the anti-vaccination bubble burst and those that trusted a source that should be trusted were attacked for their beliefs. That kind of made them go underground. So take a normal, rational person and make them afraid to talk except to those that won’t attack them and they go online and find like-minded groups. These groups will share “proof” that big pharm discredited a legit source in an effort to make billions off vaccinations. And when everyone around is saying the same thing it can be easy to lose sight of what is true and what is not.
It seems to me that when someone is “outed” as being anti-vaccination they get attacked. And that makes them defensive. When people feel like they will be attacked for their beliefs they tend to keep those beliefs to themselves and only talk with like-minded individuals. The problem with that is a form of intellectual stagnation. When you only talk to people that agree with you it is difficult to learn.
“A dumb man surrounds himself with smart people and a smart man surrounds himself with smart people that disagree with him.” That is a quote that a friend and I often remind ourselves of to keep growing as individuals. We can’t fully explore a topic or have a deeper understanding of our own beliefs unless we listen to people that challenge those beliefs.
There is also a touch of conspiracy theory in the anti-vaccination crowd. Just a touch. But most of them are against the medical industry and not necessarily the government. The problem with any kind of conspiracy person is that their arguments become lazy. The accusation that “Big Pharm” is out to make us sick while reaping in huge profits is too easy of an excuse to dismiss real information.
Unfortunately, now, the anti-vaccination crowd is in a full on, dig in your heels, defensive mode. Attacking them won’t do any good, in fact it will make things worse. So instead I say this to the people that are against vaccinations. Please do your research with credible sources that might disagree with you and weigh all the information. I understand the concept of the protection of the herd because I rely on it. The medications I am forced to take every month make me immune compromised. So doing all that you can do to prevent the spread of disease will keep your child safe and will save my life. Just like it would have saved the woman that died. She was also taking medications that compromised her immune system. I know she might not be from my neighborhood, but being in the same state is too close for my comfort. Especially since I just got out of a five day stretch in the hospital.
If you are pro-vaccination, please do not attack those with different beliefs. Calling them names has never convinced anyone to change their position. Ever. Instead, let them know that you respect their love for their children and maybe they will enter a respectful dialogue. It is great that some people do the research out of love for their children and I respect that. If they feel that they are respected, they might be less defensive and be moved to change their mind and protect their children. I love my child, and that is why I had her vaccinated. I hope others will do the same.