Update: I wrote this about a week ago, but was too lazy to add graphics and post it. Now there’s outbreaks of Measles in Arizona, threats to sue the parents of unvaccinated children, and additional measures of insanity. I’m not really sure how to reflect on it, so I’m just posting my original thoughts because I don’t have the emotional drive to keep up with this shit.
Recently, this labor-of-love has seen some bad press as people have been stricken ill with a respiratory virus you may remember from your childhood as the Measles.
No, The measles aren’t some knock-off Winnie the Pooh characters that spook your children and leave them with the sniffles. It’s a serious viral infection, named Rubeola. And sure, Rubeola sounds like something you order at Olive Garden, and also not that serious, but the virus that broke out at Disney land is neither adorable or delicious. Measles, though rarely, can be fatal, but may lead to blindness, deafness and brain swelling.
Whenever I read the news, I like to scroll down to the comments section so I can immediately lose my faith in humanity. I don’t know why, maybe it just gives me a reason to feel superior because I don’t spew venom all over people I’ve never seen before. Quite honestly though, I don’t know why lurking and reading all of the ignorance and hatred that flows over a comments section somehow deems me morally superior.
The particulars of the story, in short, are these:
An outbreak of measles was traced back to Disney land in California, and at the time of writing, 59 cases have been linked to it in six states. I’ve seen a couple different numbers, however, 59 is the one that I’ve seen repeated across articles which is the closest I’m going to come to verification.
82% of those infected (approximately 48 of the 59) were not vaccinated, either due to their age or beliefs.
There are two major controversial opinions about why this is happening:
1.) Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children (due to the now debunked link to autism) are reducing what is called ‘herd immunity’ causing more cases to surface and spreading viruses like Measles. Many cite religious or health reasons for not vaccinating, and the common mantra, according to the soul-deadening comments section, is often something about how our bodies are better at fighting off diseases if they are free of antibiotics, which is often associated with some vague attachment to our knowledge of superbugs, because all viruses. ‘Anti-vaxxers’ as they are less than affectionately called claim:
2.) Other people claim that our less-than-lethal approach of not murdering what one commenter referred to as ‘Dirty illegal mexicans’ is leading to a slew of new diseases that our delicate, unvaccinated children can’t handle. Here is this logic illustrated in a flowchart:
Here’s the funny thing, most of the parents who aren’t vaccinating their children are likely to be born in the ‘70s or later, which means the measles vaccine was readily available, and therefore they’d never seen any of their friends or family contract the virus and die. Measles, unlike other viruses like the flu, which goes through a mutagenic makeover every year, is relatively stable. The vaccine they came up with in the 70s, unlike polyester summer wear and the bowl cut, remains just as effective.
Another moment of disclosure: I am wary of vaccines, mostly because of their close association with doctors, of whom I have stories about I will tell later. Viruses are prone to mutation and a vaccine for one virus won’t necessarily be effective for a different strain, and no one wants a bunch of injections in exchange for a percentage point or so of guarantee. Is that a reason not to get them? Hell no. It’s a reason to be informed, to ask your doctor questions and understand what you’re putting in to your body, and why.
Any virus can come back. Do you remember what I said about herd immunity? Essentially, if enough people do get vaccinations, there is a much smaller likelihood that the virus can spread quickly, as most people will have developed enough immunity to stop them from passing it on to people who don't have that immunity. But if that number starts declining, there are fewer people who are immune, which will cause the number of people capable of spreading the number to rise.
Suck up and take your medicine.
The part of this that I find heartbreaking is the fact some people still cling to the assumption that this virus emigrated here from South American countries. If you didn’t see my previous flowchart of circular logic, here it is again:
Unfortunately, the idea that disease is racially related isn’t new. Tuberculosis was once linked to Jews, and Cholera to the Irish. Ebola is only one of many diseases we assume Africa came up to kill people far away, firstly by infecting themselves. All of these are easily disproven, and for the current example, here’s why:
For measles, the disease in question people are worried is being tracked across the border on unsanitary foreigners, the vaccination rates are high. Mexico has a 99% vaccination rate, as do Nicaragua and Cuba. Guatemala has a 93% vaccination rate. The United States is at 92%. It is much less likely that people coming to our country is welcoming a slew of diseases.
When I was first reading these comments on the internet about why illegal immigrants were the source of the outbreak, I was confused. People appeared to be falling back on the historical cautionary tale of smallpox that was brought by Spaniards to central America, which happened before vaccines were a thing, by the way. This is not an issue of illegal immigration, or any immigration for that matter. This is an issue of a group of people being wrong and who should take some accountability. I respect your beliefs, but exercising any belief in a way that will kill children is unacceptable. I’m not saying that as a liberal bias; Quinoa is ruining the environment for example, so stop eating that shit you hemp wrapped hypocrites. (Digression)
Not ever decision you make in your life should be a competition with everyone else. You don’t need to be more right. Actually, no one needs to be right. More than once in my life I’ve realized how stupid I am or how bad what I did was, and after awhile I learned it was better to be wrong so I had a gauge of what the right thing was. Changing your mind doesn’t make you a hypocrite; refusing to despite all evidence against you (and even possibly your beliefs) very well might.
About A Blog
I'm a Denver Comedian, occasional cartoonist and person of interest to someone, probably. These articles are really too long.