Our lives today have become politicized by many issues, including vaccination. Research shows that Republicans largely ally with the anti-vax stance, following the example of their national leader, while Democrats lined up to take the jab. Does it matter whether you resist vaccination because of “the (false) science” or “the politics?” The answer is yes. Let’s focus on the politically averse, 60% of the anti-vax population.
Mandating vaccination isn’t the greatest governmental policy. Catherine the Great knew that back in 1768 – more than two hundred and fifty years ago. Maybe politicians should look to history for ideas on what works when influencing population behavior. Perhaps they should also eschew involving themselves in scientific matters where they are ignorant.
On February 22, 2022, Kensey Dishman died. She was thirteen years old. Doctors believe Kensey, a high-risk patient, died of COVID-19-related causes. Kensey had asthma, a condition for which vaccination is recommended. Yet, despite her asthma, she wasn’t vaccinated and wasn’t masked. A week before her death, her school district removed mask mandates. Her choice was to refuse vaccination; her divorced parents were conflicted. Her mother and step-dad, vaccinated themselves, urged Kensey to get vaccinated. Her biological father agreed with her choice not to vaccinate. Normally thirteen-year-olds aren’t allowed to make significant health-related decisions for themselves. So, what happened here?
Tucker Carlson had Robert Kennedy Jr. on his show, giving him five minutes of almost-uninterrupted time to spew his misinformation on vaccines. We hope the Fox News cable host got what he wanted (presuming in the form of ratings). And that it was worth a few more children getting sick with measles and dying of whooping cough.
In an effort to halt what some pediatricians are calling a rising tide in vaccine hesitancy, the American Academy of Pediatrics have released a statement urging states to crack down on parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. The recommendations go as far as stating that pediatricians reserve the right to exclude anti-vaccine families from the practice who refuse to change their minds. The news is good, and we here at the council welcome it, as a whopping 87 percent of pediatricians this year have been 'challenged' by parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, up from 75 percent in the last decade.