Sam comments on Pure Pedantry:
I take some issue with the statement, “If you choose not to get your kids vaccinated, you are endangering their lives.” This part is true. But what you left out is the fact that you are endangering others’ lives as well. Vaccination programs only work on a community-wide scale. If half of the people stopped getting pertussis vaccine, then we would have an outbreak of pertussis, leading to the deaths of many infants. As we’ve seen in other countries, when part of the population stops being vaccinated against polio virus, the incidence rises. As a pediatrician, I’ve taken care of infants who have stopped breathing because of a pertussis infection. Their immunity takes a few months to establish, and early in life, they are at the mercy of the fact that others around them have been vaccinated. The same goes for hepatitis. If your teenager contracted hepatitis B as an STD from someone who refused vaccination as an infant, I think you would agree that their parents’ decision affected more than just themselves. This is the crux of the matter – I believe that all children should have mandatory vaccinations in order to have the privilege of living in this (comparatively) healthy country. For the most part this has worked – with very few dissenters – certainly not enough to tip the balance toward many outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses. On the other hand, as the press coverage on this (non) issue grows, more and more parents are coming into the office requesting that their children not be vaccinated. The individual risk to their child of getting one of these diseases is low, but taken as a whole, it is a growing danger to this country.
I’d like to see someone whose child comes down with a severe case to sue every parent in the neighbourhood who didn’t get their kids vaccnated and their doctors and their lawyers and especially lawyer Clifford Shoemaker for encouraging frivolous lawsuits and expert witnesses who maintain their strained arguments against immunization.