Friday, July 3, 2015

Hooray to California

Hooray to California for passing SB 277 and SB 792. It's an important step because their entire purpose is to protect public health. Unfortunately, people like Jim Carrey don't see it the same way. He went on a tirade on Twitter spouting off his displeasure with SB 277 passing. And we should listen to Jim Carrey on public health matters because?

The passing of the bills have also "awoken a sleeping giant" among the California anti-vaxxers. Yes, Jim Carrey is one of them. He and his other anti-vaccination celebrity friends are dangerous because, well, their famous. Famous people have the potential to affect millions of people by the things they say; even when they say stupid things.

The anti-vaxxers spin vaccinations as a choice. They are worried about vaccinations being harmful for their kids. Never mind the fact that most of the anti-vax crowd were actually vaccinated when they were children, thus they didn't get the opportunity to suffer and possibly die from these same diseases they run the risk of exposing to their unvaccinated children.

Now if this was just about "choice", then there wouldn't be an issue.

But this is not about "choice". This is about public health.

Government does a lot, both good and bad, but it's main function is to protect the people. Public health falls into that category. As the Disneyland fiasco has shown, not getting vaccinated is a public health issue.

If not vaccinating your child only affected your specific child, then so be it. Let evolution decide if your family genes get to continue on or not. But the choice of not vaccinating your child affects a lot more than just your specific child.

There are people, both children and adults, who, for actual medical reasons, can not get vaccinations. Thus, they never had a "choice". They are left vulnerable to the public around them. And some of those in the public have chosen to not vaccinate their children because of their "personal beliefs".

"Personal beliefs" is not a medical reason.

Fortunately, SB 277 eliminates the "personal beliefs" exemption.

Public health, like climate change, should be determined by the actual science, not ignorance and fear. Jim Carrey and his ilk are not scientists. They are concerned parents who think they know more than actual scientists.

But the science shows that vaccines are safe.

The science shows that vaccines do not cause autism.

The state I live in, Washington, has just confirmed the first death in the U.S. caused be measles in 12 years.

If the anti-vax movement does not stop, then there will be more unnecessary death and suffering from diseases we long thought were no longer much of a concern. Hooray to California for having the strength to make this change.

It is unfortunate that in this country we depend highly on science and technology but yet it is scorned, even feared. It is certainly not respected.

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