North Texas Daily

Not vaccinating is a form of child abuse

Not vaccinating is a form of child abuse

Not vaccinating is a form of child abuse
March 01
09:00 2020

The anti-vaccine movement has elicited a substantial amount of mockery since its resurgence in the late 1990s, yet the trauma that subscribers to this misbelief inflict on their children has yet to become a recurring topic of discussion among the general public.

Anti-vaccine rhetoric cannot be written off as harmless blather. The World Health Organization actually lists “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the ten top threats to global health, citing the 30 percent rise in measles outbreaks that occurred partially because of this craze. Earlier this very month, a 4-year-old boy died of the flu after members of the anti-vaccine movement contacted his mother over Facebook and advised her to withhold giving him the medication his doctor had prescribed, according a report by NBC. Both NBC and CNN reported that anti-vaxxers have taken to harassing the mothers of deceased children over Facebook for recruitment and silencing purposes, hoping to guilt the overwrought mothers into condemning their own use of vaccines or at least refraining from advocating for their continued usage. Public Health has expressed concerns over the destruction of herd immunity by unvaccinated civilians, whose uninformed decisions allow diseases to establish themselves and infect pregnant people, infants and others who are unable to receive vaccines.

The vilification of vaccinations was popularized by former British physician Andrew Wakefeild, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, whose 1998 studies linking vaccines to autism were falsified to such a degree that he is no longer permitted to practice medicine within the United Kingdom. The British Medical Journal eventually discovered that Wakefield had planned to profit off his deliberately fabricated findings through the establishment of an anti-vaccine organization, and the New York Times recalls that he was actually found guilty of inflicting medical abuses on developmentally delayed children by the British General Medical Council.

All of this damning information on Wakefield can be easily procured through the bare minimum of online research, yet many members of the anti-vaccine movement still cite his work when attempting to defend their position on vaccinations, demonstrating both their tendency toward cognitive dissonance and general disregard for the welfare of children.

The anti-vaccine movement is also inherently ableist, as many members cite a fear of autism as their primary reason for forgoing vaccinations, implying that they would rather see their child dead from disease than be autistic.

Insider recalls former model and actress Jenny McCarthy publicly attributing her son’s autism to vaccines in 2007. She has since launched an anti-vaccine organization, written a number of books on what an ordeal raising her own child has been and has generally taken to exploiting her child for the promise of continued celebrity.

“If you ask 99.9 percent of parents who have children with autism if we’d rather have the measles versus autism, we’d sign up for the measles,” McCarthy told Frontline in 2015. McCarthy later confided in CNN that a number of doctors told her her son was misdiagnosed, though she apparently prefers to believe he “recovered” and attributes any alternative consensus to bias on the part of medical professionals.

A parent who prioritizes their misconceptions concerning developmental disabilities over their child’s physical well-being should not be a parent. The parents of a Colorado boy who declined to have him vaccinated even after he almost died of tetanus should not be parents. Any parent who cannot be bothered to do a modest amount of Googling on a subject they even suspect might prove crucial to their child’s chance of survival should not be a parent. The number one most basic rule of parenthood is to keep the child that defines that role alive, not to project skewed and blatantly unscientific ideology onto them at the expense of said aliveness.

With all of this in mind, mocking this decidedly dangerous mindset without also actively working to debunk it seems like something of a disservice to its victims. Joining in the crusade to make vaccines mandatory within all states might prove more productive than “memeing” about it, though that’s not to say the two must remain exclusive.

Featured Illustration: Jae-Eun Suh

About Author

Rachel Card

Rachel Card

Rachel Card is a junior majoring in public relations and minoring in sociology. She was born in Austin, Texas, and is currently quarantining there with her family and three dogs.

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