Dispatch: Measles Epidemic

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Parents who intentionally failed to vaccinate their 7-year-old son are responsible for a 2008 mini-epidemic of measles in San Diego, and the city should bill them the $125,000 it spent containing the outbreak, an obstetrician-gynecologist argues in a recent blog post for KevinMd.com. Citing a new paper in Pediatrics that provides insight into the outbreak, Dr. Amy Tutour says that virtually everything vaccine rejectionists claim is wrong:

Indeed, those parents most likely to proclaim themselves “educated” on the topic [vaccine safety] are generally the most ignorant…Vaccine rejectionists don’t hurt just their own children, they hurt everyone else’s children and they cost the taxpayers large sums of money to contain the results of their gullibility.

ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross agrees that “rejectionist” parents use junk science to justify their refusal to vaccinate their children from public health concerns they perceive as fabricated. In his 2008 op-ed for The San Diego Union-Tribune, he focused on the public health threat they pose:

The fact that few of us now recall the scourge of childhood contagions should not make us complacent. California parents are being frightened by anti-chemical activists into believing that infinitesimal amounts of “contaminants” found in plastics, fire retardants and toy duckies may pose a risk for their children – while real, vaccine-preventable illnesses are allowed to spread. Parents who indulge their “personal beliefs” by skipping vaccinations go against medical science and put all children – not just their own – at risk.