With the recent outbreaks in California, British Columbia and now far too close to home in Toronto, measles is back in North America after having officially been declared eliminated before the turn of the century thanks to required routine immunizations.
It's back because, for no reason other than stupidity, a few ignorant, ill-informed idiots have "chosen" not to vaccinate their children against this (and other) debilitating, life-threatening diseases - putting our entire society at risk.
The most dangerous part of the vaccination debate is calling it a debate at all, giving the anti-vax movement creditability as a potential parenting choice - when, in fact, it's not.
The anti-vax arguments are based on fiction, false studies, half-truths and flat-out lies, conspiracy theories and rumours and absolutely ridiculous statements.
There is no science behind the anti-vaccination movement.
It's not a debate or an argument or an opinion or a choice. It's simple fact versus fiction.
Fact: children require vaccinations against preventable disease.
Fiction: vaccination should be a parenting choice.
Fact: vaccines are safe, tested and proven.
Fiction: vaccines will poison your child, or give him autism, or whatever other idiotic fairy tale is trending among conspiracy theorists.
Fact: administering these proven, safe vaccines is what provided our society with the herd immunity that eliminated diseases which only generations ago killed millions of people every year.
Fiction: as a parent, you must decide what's best for your own child - and your child is so fucking special he's exempt from society's rules.
There is no good reason not to vaccinate your healthy child. There are children who cannot be vaccinated - because they are too young, because they are immunocompromised - and it is these children who our herd immunity is protecting. It is not going to work if it has to protect every poor child who happens to be born to stupid parents.
Vaccinating your children is not a parenting choice any more than it's a choice to drive drunk or beat your child. You can make that choice, obviously, in that you are a human being with the ability to exercise free will, but it's the wrong choice and there are potential consequences to that choice.
If you choose to drive drunk, you could hurt or kill yourself or someone else and, hopefully, you will be caught and arrested. If you choose not to vaccinate there are the same risks - there should be the same consequences.
If you choose to hit your children you will hurt or kill them and, hopefully, you will be caught and arrested. If you choose not to vaccinate there are the same risks - there should be the same consequences.
Choosing not to vaccinate your children is wilfully negligent and should have criminal consequences attached.
Calling vaccination a parenting choice lets the stupidity of the few risk the lives of the many. Do we discuss drunk driving or child abuse with words like "choice" and "opinion"? Of course not.
So let's take steps to protect ourselves.
Children who haven't been vaccinated by their parents' choice should not be allowed to attend public schools.
Children who haven't been vaccinated by their parents' choice should not be allowed to visit public recreation facilities - pools, playplaces, skating rinks, theme parks, libraries and museums and zoos.
Children who haven't been vaccinated by their parents' choice should not be allowed in public shopping malls or restaurants.
Children who haven't been vaccinated by their parents' choice should not be allowed in public doctors' offices, walk-in clinics, or hospitals with communal waiting rooms.
It's a hardship for a child whose only crime was to be born to stupid parents, but it's those same parents whose arrogant, ignorant, negligent choice risked that child's life; it hardly seems fair to risk anyone else's life because of that choice.
Breast vs. bottle, sleep training vs. co-sleeping, public vs. private school, allowance and chores and consequences of behaviour - these are parenting choices. Parenting choices like these should be made based on what each parent believes will be best for their child, and though we all have different ideas of what's best, we should respect one another's choices as parents doing what we believe is best for our own child.
Vaccinating your children is not a parenting choice.
Vaccinating is the best thing for your child, if he is able to be vaccinated. Period.
Let's stop the debate. This isn't a matter of opinion or a choice. It's fact.
If you choose to live here, in this society with this level of civilization and education and science and medical care, your children will get their required vaccinations. If you choose not to vaccinate your children against these completely preventable diseases, you cannot continue to be a part of this society as you're putting the rest of us as risk with your choice. Simple.
And that is your choice.