The Amish Are Not A Reason To Not Vaccinate Your Kids, Dummy

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amishThis shouldn’t come as a surprise to me, given that people who are anti-vaccine are, in general, conspiracy-theorist-loving crazy people who think facts are here to destroy them. But apparently the latest justification for not vaccinating your kids is: the Amish. God f***ing dammit, you guys.

In today’s Jezebel, Anna Merlan has a story about an article in LA Healthy Living that is titled, “Why the Amish Rarely Get Sick: Things You Can Learn From Them.” Fantastic. Do tell.

The article says that the Amish rarely get sick for the following reasons:

1. “The Amish Don’t Get Vaccinated.”

Saying someone rarely gets sick because they aren’t vaccinated is a bit of a stretch. It’s the kind of willfully magical thinking that leads people to freeze their bodies after death under the assumption that someday they’ll get reanimated. (Ok, Grandpa. We’ll make sure they know where your freezer is.)

Also, there’s this from a Lancaster County website that describes the Amish lifestyle:

Regarding vaccinations, “The Amish do vaccinate their children,” says Dr. Kevin Strauss, MD, of the Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, Pa., which specializes in addressing the health needs of the Plain population. “Their overall vaccination rate is lower in comparison to the general populace, but you’ll find a higher rate of vaccination among younger Amish than in older generations. The bi-weekly vaccination clinic that we run is very busy.”

But whatever. I’m sure you’re right, L.A. Healthy Living.

2. “The Amish Eat Organic, Locally Grown Food.”

A healthy diet? You’re correct. Check.

3. “The Amish Eat Plenty Of Healthy Fats.”

I’m pretty sure this one got added in because their editor said they needed five things to make this a list. But still, probably also true. Check.

4. “The Amish People Are Physically Active.”

Exercise? Check.

5. “The Amish Live Stress-Free Lives.”

Indeed. I can think of nothing less stressful than living off the land without electricity. What a care-free life they must have, getting up at the crack of dawn to grow their own food and never, ever use a washing machine. Not like our stressful lives with machines that cook meals in less than two minutes and give us answers to every question we could ever have in seconds. They don’t even know what it’s like when Siri won’t tell you what the temperature is and you have to open a window. Oh my God, all the stress.

Clearly, this “look at the Amish” movement is a crock. It would make just as much sense to say, “There weren’t any autistic cavemen because they had the good fortune to live in a time before vaccines.” This is a simplistic, invalid, and derp-to-the-max way of looking at health.

As Merlan points out:

Amish parents who didn’t believe in vaccination started to reconsider that stance after an enormous measles outbreak in their community in central Ohio. And hyping the Amish as a community that “rarely gets sick” is nonsense, given that they suffer from a number of devastating genetic diseases that are rare in other populations, including maple syrup urine disease, where the body doesn’t properly break down amino acids, and Crigler-Najjar syndrome, a disorder that affects the liver and spleen.

That’s a truth bomb. Although since we’re talking about the Amish, I will call it a “heavy truth balloon.”

Come off it, folks. You don’t have science to back you up, so this is what you’re going with? Good grief. However, if the anti-vaccination folks in Los Angeles sell all their possessions and move in with the Amish, then I will consider this whole controversy well worth it.

(Photo: Hutch Photography / Shutterstock)