I really don’t want to turn this blog into an anti-vaxxer bashing blog, but, you know what, I kinda do.
Buzzfeed just posted this story and I’m, again, angry.
New York has recently put into effect an order stating that if you don’t vaccinate your kids against measles you get fined $1000. You have to show proof that you are already immune (because you had measles at some point) or that you have been vaccinated.
They are doing this because there are now, currently, 300 cases of measles in New York City. Twenty of those cases are in the hospital. Five of those cases are in intensive care.
Now, that’s not a lot of people, although I would argue that any number of people being hospitalized for an easily preventable illness is ridiculously high. But then there’s this fun quote:
“The problem is, there’s nothing more difficult to contain than a measles epidemic,” Peter Hotez, professor of pediatrics and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Texas’s Baylor College of Medicine, told BuzzFeed News. “The measles virus is the most highly transmissible virus we know about.”
So it’s a highly transmissible virus with each person that is currently carrying the virus becomes a liability, especially in a society where people have decided they’d rather not take one shot.
On top of that, there are parents who have decided to have measles parties instead of just vaccinating their children and, in that way, avoid the fine. Here’s what those children have to look forward to:
“The first sign of measles is usually a high fever, which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus, and lasts 4 to 7 days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over about 3 days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for 5 to 6 days, and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of 7 to 18 days).” – Borrowed from WHO
Let’s be clear here: Measles can kill. Measles can maim. Let’s look at those symptoms:
“Most measles-related deaths are caused by complications associated with the disease. Serious complications are more common in children under the age of 5, or adults over the age of 30. The most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, ear infections, or severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia. Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.” – Also Borrowed from WHO
So….the parents can give their kid one shot or they can get them sick and risk all those symptoms and consequences listed above. Here are the common symptoms of the measles vaccine:
- Sore arm from the shot
- Mild rash
- Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints, mostly in teenage or adult women who did not already have immunity to the rubella component of the vaccine
–Borrowed from the CDC
Huh….looks like getting the vaccine is much less risky than actually getting the measles.
Wait! There’s a risk of fever induced seizures in older infants! Except that it’s extremely rare and the seizures have no long term effects on the child. Not like measles which can, once again, result in blindness or death.
So, to recap, parents in NYC would rather make their child incredibly sick for two weeks (and risk their child’s death!) rather than get a shot that would prevent that from happening.
This is asinine. This is irresponsible. This is dangerous.
Vaccinate your children, for their own sake.