The world is less safe tonight

Some people aren’t looking for anything logical, or reasonable. They can be bought, be bullies, but they can’t be reasoned or negotiated with. Some people just want to watch the world burn.

Imagine for a second that you are a parent who has lost a child to a horrible disease. Pretty painful, right? Now, imagine that you are being harassed time and time again because you are doing your best to keep other children from dying a similar death. Imagine that people who don’t know you personally nor had any involvement in the medical treatment of your child publish article after article claiming to know all the details of your child’s illness and blaming you for the death of your child. And then imagine that they do this over and over and over and over and over, even after you have asked them to please stop.

Think about it for a second, then keep reading.
I bring your attention now to this post and this other post and this other one as well (thanks, Hank, 22MAR13) by “Reasonable Hank”. In those posts, Hank clearly documents the continued harassment of a family in Australia who lost a daughter to pertussis (whooping cough). The harassment comes from an anti-vaccine organization that claims that the girl in question either did not die from pertussis or, if she did, it was from being vaccinated, or from not being breastfed, or from medical incompetence, or something.

The truth is that the vaccine against pertussis is safe and effective. Is it 100% safe and 100% effective? No. Nothing is. A brand new jet flying hundreds of passengers right now over any part of the world is not 100% safe nor 100% effective. The water you will drink today will not be 100% safe nor 100% effective. Yet the vaccine is the best shot we have at keeping this disease at bay.

Many people from many scientific backgrounds – and even laymen – have tried to explain in very simple terms to the anti-vaccine advocates in question how the pertussis vaccine works, why it works, and how it can help provide protection to those too young, too old, too weak, too sick, or otherwise unable to be vaccinated. But these anti-vaccine people are not willing to listen to reason. They’re not willing to look at any facts. They live in their own version of reality.

And the world is less safe for it.