Anti-Vaxxers Start Their Own Day Care, Great News For Everyone But Their Unvaxxed Kids

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Center For Disease Control Reports Highest Number Of Measles Cases In 20 YearsSomeone in Anti-Vaxxer Land must be listening to us, because they’ve finally taken us up on our suggestion to sequester themselves in their own special vaccine-free day care. An in-home care provider in an Ottawa suburb has explicitly set up a no-vaccinated-kids-allowed policy for her day care, collecting a whole flock of vulnerable tiny people in one concentrated area, and you know what? I’m happy for all the kids whose herd immunity is better protected now, but I’m more than a little freaked out for this little pocket of susceptibility.

Care provider Melissa Abekah serves organic food at her private day care, which I’m sure is delicious, but I hope she doesn’t think it will protect the kids under her watch from the measles. According to the National Post, Abekah doesn’t trust the ingredients in vaccines (sigh), and she thinks that vaccinated children can transmit the virus for thirty days after they get the shot. Well, she’s only off on that estimate by thirty days.

Viruses weakened (or killed) for use in vaccines can’t infect anyone else, but you know who can? Unvaccinated kids whose immune systems’ front doors are flung wide open for any measles, chicken pox, or influenza that comes strolling by. There aren’t any cases of measles in Ottawa yet, but the disease appeared in Toronto earlier this week–just a four-hour drive away. And the idea of a horde of unprotected toddlers frankly makes my stomach churn.

I am inclined to get pretty worked up in talks about anti-vaxxers, who are frankly a menace to public health. But one phrase that often crops up in these talks, and that doesn’t sit well with me, is “survival of the fittest”. Talking about the situation like we’re watching a wildlife program hosted by David Attenborough where a measles-lion is chasing down a bunch of toddler gazelles is not cool. (To be fair, I’ve also seen anti-vaxxers use “survival of the fittest” as an excuse for not vaccinating, as if they’re hoping horrible diseases will somehow cull the herd of weak children, which is gross and eugenics-y too. But I’m not an anti-vaxxer, and they’ll have to take out their own trash; I’m here for my side’s.)

These are helpless three-year-olds whose parents have made terrible medical decisions on their behalf. And while I don’t want those helpless and potentially measles-laced three-year-olds anywhere near my kids, especially before they get their second MMR shot, I also don’t want them to suffer or die because of their parents’ mistakes. I’m glad that kids who can’t be immunized, or whose immunization didn’t take, are protected by the sequestration of some of the unvaccinated-by-choice crowd … but I wish there wasn’t such a big unvaccinated-by-choice crowd to begin with.

(Image: Joe Raedle / News / Getty)