According to Slate, a woman from Clallam County, Washington–where vaccination rates are much lower than they should be–has just died from complications related to measles. The woman is the sixth person in the area to be diagnosed with measles this year, and doctors say she most likely picked it up at a health facility, because another measles patient was there at the same time. The deceased was taking medications that compromised her immune system, so the disease had no trouble infecting her.
Anti-vaxxers are always huffily defending their personal rights not to vaccinate and getting indignant about why we care that they don’t want to vaccinate their kids, and this is specifically why it is important that people get vaccinated. There are people out there with compromised immune systems or who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, and they are protected when the people around them are vaccinated.
It’s important that we vaccinate our children, and that we keep our own vaccinations up-to-date as well. And for the love of God, we have to talk about vaccinations and how important they are and why the anti-vaxxer movement is dangerous and full of lies and misinformation, because while it seems like all their spurious “research” is just a bunch of goofy Facebook memes and crazy tweets from Jim Carrey, those people are actually managing to change minds.
New parents are particularly susceptible to the anti-vax “research.” New parents are scared of everything, and that is totally understandable. And when faced with a choice like, “I could jab something sharp into my tiny precious baby and it will protect him against things I have personally never seen” or “But Jim Carrey says that needle is full of poison and measles is a myth created by Big Pharma so it’s safer just to rub everything with coconut oil and be happy,” I can understand how someone would be scared out of vaccinating. But that is a terrible, terrible idea, for one’s own children and everyone else.