It is baffling how in the year 2019 there are still plenty of parents point blank refusing to vaccinate their children against life-threatening diseases.
Believing themselves to be better educated on the matter than the doctors fighting to keep people alive and healthy, anti-vaxxers all to often often subject their children to their dark ages world view, with frustrating – and sometimes devastating – consequences.
This week, public health officials in the US state of Washington have been battling an outbreak of measles, with their work made more difficult on account of a below vaccination rate within the area of the measles outbreak.
Clark County public health director, Dr Alan Melnick, spoke of how misinformation doing the rounds on social media sites has misled some anti-vaxxer parents into believing vaccinations lead to the development of developmental disorders such as autism.
According to The Independent, Dr Melnick spoke of his exasperation at these unsupported beliefs:
What keeps me up at night is eventually having a child die from this completely preventable situation.
It’s still out there, even though it’s been debunked, that the measles vaccine results in autism. That’s nonsense.
My mum told me that she "vaccinated" me against whooping cough with homeopathy.
I was *horrified* and asked my dad and he said he took me (and siblings) to get vaccinated without telling her.
— Limertilly (@limertilly) January 25, 2019
Young people should trust that the adults who take care of them will take all modern preventative measures to keep them as safe from harm as possible.
No kid should ever, as was the case with one Twitter user, be informed that they have been ‘vaccinated’ against whooping cough through the wishy-washy practice of homeopathy.
It should never be the case that children are forced to turn to Reddit forums for information on how to protect themselves against potentially fatal illnesses. But sadly, this is the sad state of affairs exasperating those working tirelessly to tackle perfectly preventable outbreaks.
I got whooping cough because I wasn't aware my parents never fully vaccinated me. It was awful. Good on your father.
— tired bluebirb (@camillabluejay) January 26, 2019
One desperate 15-year-old boy from Minnesota took to a legal advice forum to ask about the legal consequences of faking his mother’s signature on a vaccination consent form:
I am writing because I am the 15 year old son of an anti-vaccine parent. I have spent the last 4 years trying to convince my mother that vaccines are safe. I haven’t succeeded.
So instead I am trying to research how to be vaccinated without my mother’s consent.
Another teenager, a 13-year-old boy who had never received a vaccination, took to Reddit to get information about how to override his parents’ dangerous decision.
According to Vaxopedia, there are fifteen states in the US where a minor can give their own consent for vaccination.
These states are: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia.
For young Americans living outside of these states, it’s a bit more complicated. At 16, they are legally entitled to have confidential doctor’s appointments, however they will usually have to be over the age of 18 to legally consent to medical procedures.
I was one of these people once upon a time!! I am so grateful to the particular reddit community that helped me get caught up in a discreet way. :)
— Ruby (@RubyCatOfficial) January 25, 2019
I was in this position. Ended up waiting til I reached 18. Not sure I’ll ever fully forgive my parents for that one
— kia (@Kia_Like_TheCar) January 25, 2019
Alarmingly, it appears anti-vax culture has yet to be consigned to the history books in accordance with scientific development.
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