If you thought measles was a disease of the past, you can thank “anti-vaxx” paranoids for bringing it back to America and the world.
Measles — considered eradicated in 2000, thanks to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine — is making a deadly comeback, with more than 100 children infected in Brooklyn as the disease spreads to at least 10 states.
A Senate hearing on vaccines last week sounded the alarm on the high rate of vaccine refusal in the United States and its dire consequences.
I’ve encountered anti-vaxxers on the right and left, each with a favorite conspiracy theory. Right-wingers cry it’s “big government stealing our freedom!” while many left-wingers believe it’s “big pharma trying to poison us!” Arguing with them is like arguing with a plant. They ignore scientific evidence that vaccinations do not cause autism or that the World Health Organization now lists “vaccine hesitancy” (them) among the top 10 global health threats.
Among these true believers is Darla Shine, wife of former Fox News executive Bill Shine, who recently resigned as White House communications adviser. Spouting anti-vaxx theories on social media, she tweets that reports of measles outbreaks in the Pacific Northwest are “fake.”
Saner voices on both sides of the aisle in Congress are speaking out. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) recently sent letters to the heads of Google and Facebook, alarmed at the tech giants’ roles in spreading false medical information.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a physician, defended requiring parents to vaccinate children before sending them to school. “Now, if you’re such a believer in liberty that you do not wish to be vaccinated, then there should be a consequence, and that is you cannot infect other people,” he said.
Unfortunately, President Donald Trump is on record decrying “monster shots” given to children, spreading the dangerous myth that childhood vaccines are linked to autism. False!
Meanwhile, Bill Shine will work on Trump’s reelection campaign, bringing along his clueless wife, who tweeted: “Bring back our #ChildhoodDiseases they keep you healthy & fight cancer.”
It’s enough to make you sick.
Follow playwright Mike Vogel at @mikewrite7.