Opinion » Shredder

To V or not to V?

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Long, shiny, sharp needles poking through your skin and into your tissues and injecting you with viruses! Ahhh! 

If the very thought makes you cringe, you’re part of the 20 percent of the population suffering from belonephobia (abnormal fear of needles), trypanophobia (fear of injections), or vaccinophobia (fear of vaccinations). The other 80 percent are just masochists, I guess.

Fear of needles or not, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 277 into law, and as of January 2016, if you’ve got kids going to school, they’re absolutely required to receive all mandatory vaccines unless they’re medically exempt. No more religious or philosophical exemptions allowed. 

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Naturally, some people have succumbed to apoplectic fits over the new law. Is there a vaccine for that? Even if there was, anti-vaxxers wouldn’t take it. They’re sure that vaccines can cause autism. The problem is, evidence doesn’t support a link between the two. Then there’s the worry about additives in vaccines, such as the mercury-containing compound thimerosal. Well, sorry, Jenny McCarthy, but all the additives in vaccines have been proven safe.

The Institute of Medicine—an impartial group of leading experts—reviewed more than 200 studies in 2004 and more than 1,000 studies in 2011, and found evidence didn’t show a link between vaccines and autism. Nada! Not that science or evidence will quell anti-vaxxer hysteria. If they accepted science, the happiest place on earth—Disneyland—wouldn’t have had a measles outbreak earlier this year due to parents who refused to vaccinate their children.

What the hell is wrong with these people? A 2011 Associated Press survey reported that the level of unvaccinated children in eight states now exceeds 5 percent! Why do parents roll the dice with their children’s health, not to mention put other children at risk? Because they wrongly think vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they protect against.

And they’re selfish A-holes.

Those who choose not to vaccinate are relying on those around them to be vaccinated to lessen their risk of exposure. These selfish A-holes may end up spreading disease to those who can’t be vaccinated due to compromised health. 

Do you want to be a selfish A-hole? Don’t answer that. It’s rhetorical.

If you think vaccines are no longer necessary, consider this: 

“In Great Britain, a drop in pertussis vaccination in 1974 was followed by an epidemic of more than 100,000 cases of pertussis and 36 deaths by 1978,” according to the CDC, which added, “not only would diseases not be disappearing without vaccines, if we were to stop vaccinating, they’d come back.”

Get it? Is it sinking in? 

“The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases,” Gov. Brown wrote in his signing message. “While it’s true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community.”

Still, the A-holes aren’t having it. Former State Assemblymember Tim Donnelly is trying to get SB 277 overturned through a voter referendum.

What an A-hole.

“With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Brown took away a really important choice for parents to make,” Donnelly said. “I just believe that decision belongs to the parents, not the government. This is not about vaccination. This is about choice.’’

Don’t give me that “choice” crap. What happens when one person’s individual choice leads to the otherwise preventable infection of another person? Mumps, measles, rubella, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and varicella (chickenpox) have been controlled thanks to vaccines, before which there were needless deaths, thousands of hospitalizations, and tens of thousands of cases of preventable illnesses. When Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine, church bells rang throughout the land, people wept with joy, and they rushed to have their children vaccinated. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved thanks to vaccines.

And Donnelly citing choice? That’s a laugh. According to smartvote.org, his voting record suggests he chooses to support “choice” in fairly rare circumstances.

He voted against AB 154, which authorizes “nurses, nurse-midwives, and physicians’ assistants to perform abortions by aspiration techniques.” He voted against AB 2348 that authorizes nurse practitioners to distribute contraceptives. He also voted against SB 104, a bill that allows agricultural laborers to choose which organization they want to represent them, AB 1313 that would require overtime wages for agricultural workers, and AB 2346 that would allow farmworkers to sue their employers for health and safety violations. 

Choice indeed.

He’s also got a 0 percent rating from Equality California, which means even if you “choose” to be gay, he still won’t support your right to get married. Yep, he’s got some funny ideas about “choice.”

Look, nobody likes getting shots except maybe your barista with all the piercings. I don’t know, but don’t you owe it to the rest of humanity to protect the herd? Don’t be the A-hole who brings back mumps, even though that’s a fun word to say. Mumps.

The Shredder gets vaccinations and always asks for an extra sucker. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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