The latest This American Life has an interesting little story on some anti-vaccination parents – and what happened when measles spread through the community. (It starts at 14 minutes into the episode and is 22 minutes long.)
I haven’t really delved much into the anti-vaccination movement, though I hear other skeptics talk about it.
It was interesting to hear them describe the anti-vaccination movement as being driven by people who don’t trust the system (well, that and a paranoid fear of vaccination and over-protective parenting). In one part of the story, an anti-vaccination mother describes how a doctor tried to pressure her into giving her child a vaccination (or at least that’s how she describes it). She felt uncomfortable with the whole situation, and gave in. Then drew this conclusion: “His agenda really – I could tell at that point – was he was going to get a DTaP into my child because he felt like he could force me to… Doing further research … the vaccination was completely unnecessary, so that just ruined my faith even more. It sort of hit me like – wow, is it really this bad – you know? So that was – yeah, it was a big moment for me.” I just couldn’t believe it. Why in the world did she think he wanted the child to get vaccinated? What was his motive – other than doing the most responsible thing for the child? Did she think the doctor loves sticking needles into children? Did she think he had some ulterior motive? I’m sure he would’ve had the same reaction if she was letting her children play with loaded guns, or using faith-healing instead of going to the hospital. Any responsible person should get angry when misguided parents put their children at risk. Somehow, she twisted around his pressure to get her child vaccinated into some kind of a “they’re the bad people who shouldn’t be trusted”. It’s horrendously bad logic at it’s finest.