Every so often, real life intrudes on blogging. So it was last night when I had to go to a work-related meeting and didn’t get back until late. Still, that means today’s a perfect opportunity to do what I’m usually not very good at: A brief post. I’ve related time and time again how when antivaccinationists claim to be “pro-vaccine safety” or “pro-freedom” (the latter of which is the newest favorite meme used by antivaccine advocates to argue that they aren’t antivaccine, or, as I call it, an antivaccine dog whistle), they’re either deluding themselves or lying. I’ve pointed out how sometimes, in a perverse way, I almost respect antivaccinationists who actually come right out and say they’re antivaccine, because at least they’re being honest with themselves and the world. None of that stops me from deconstructing their nonsense, but you do have to sort of respect the honesty about that point, at least, even as you’re ripping apart the intellectual dishonesty of their arguments against vaccine.
In the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak earlier this year, several states are considering measures to tighten up the process for getting nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates. The largest of these is, of course, California, with its SB 277, which would eliminate nonmedical vaccine exemptions. Not surprisingly, there’s been a backlash among the antivaccine movement and its fellow travellers, such as conservatives who mistakenly conflate freedom with the freedom not to vaccinate their children.
Apparently, this backlash is leading to attempts at legislation:
Rep. David Sawicki, R-Auburn, is asking Maine lawmakers to approve a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against any person who decides to forgo certain vaccinations.
Sawicki is the sponsor of LD 950, An Act to Prohibit Discrimination against a Person Who Is Not Vaccinated.
Sawicki said Monday that his bill is simple, in that if a person or the parent of a child decided against vaccinations for any reason, he or she could not be discriminated against by a school, employer or any other entity.
While Maine already allows for a “philosophical exemption,” Sawicki said his measure strengthens that and would make it difficult for the state to ever rollback that exemption.
“We are naturally born with a genius immune system, endowed by our creator, that has enabled the human race to grow and thrive over the eons,” Sawicki told the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee on Monday. “The immune system we are born with today has evolved and improved over the centuries as our environment and way of life has changed, and we have adapted. On the other hand, the existence of the vaccine business, relative to the existence of human beings, is but a tiny blip, 50 or so years.”
Sawicki said Mainers concerned that unvaccinated children might spread illness and disease in public schools shouldn’t worry if their children are vaccinated against the diseases they are worried about and they believe in vaccines.
The stupid, it burns.
I mean, seriously. Our immune system was so great that our children died like flies due to epidemics of infectious diseases and, as recently as 100 years ago, the deaths of children from diseases that are now preventable with vaccines were not uncommon and as recently as 60 years ago people lived in fear of polio. As for unvaccinated children being a threat to the vaccinated, once again, Mr. Sawicki apparently needs to be educated that no vaccine is 100% effective. Vaccinated children have less to worry about than unvaccinated children when coming in contact with the unvaccinated, but less is not “nothing.” That’s leaving aside the concept of herd immunity, which acts as a brake on the spread of disease.
Meanwhile, another legislator speaking in favor of the bill, Robert Foley, made the same argument, asking ““I know there are those who will argue that my choice not to vaccinate or to vaccinate under a different protocol somehow impacts their child’s health. But I ask you, how does my not vaccinating my child impose any risk to your child that you’ve chosen to vaccinate, if the vaccinations prevent the disease in the first place?”
See above for the answer.
Of course, Sawicki can’t resist the usual analogy made by antivaccine activists:
He also said the idea that people could be forced to take a vaccine they don’t want conjured visions of “the horrors of Nazi Germany, forced sterilization, interment, execution and involuntary medical experimentation.”
Yes, because requiring children to be protected against vaccine-preventable diseases is just like forced sterilization, interment, execution, and involuntary medical experimentation. Does Sawicki realize just how offensive his analogy is, particularly to Jews?
Then, of course, there’s the “informed consent” trope, which, as I have argued many times before, is really misinformed consent, in which the benefits of vaccination are vastly understated while the risks are massively overstated, to the point where nonexistent “risks” of vaccines, such as autism, are stated as though they are facts.
Same as it ever was…