Energizing the silent majority for vaccines

The anti-vaccine mob, like the anti-science mobs and the anti-government mobs, are well-funded, they are politically well-connected, and they have had an immense influence on public policy over the last decade. Maybe it is time for the silent majority to stand up.

Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine researcher (winner of the Jonas Salk Medal for his work on RotaTeq) has finally launched a media tour for his 2008 book "Autism's False Prophets," calling on the silent majority of parents to reject fear and vaccinate their kids so they won't get sick.

Offit was unable to tour when his book came out in hardback in 2008 because, at the time, his conclusions were so controversial.

Now, since the retraction of a controversial anti-vaccine study by Andrew Wakefield by The Lancet, he's coming out swinging, on CBS and elsewhere.

Why is he angry? For the same reason I am.

Scientists are increasingly finding outbreaks of diseases like whooping cough, which had been in check for years, because parents are refusing vaccinations. Kids who aren't vaccinated can spread disease to kids who were, because no vaccine is 100% effective.

Kids are getting sick and some are dying because of a political movement that rejects science in favor of ignorance.

Critics have called Dr. Offit Dr. Profit because he made money from his discoveries. Then what do you call someone like Sherri Tenpenny, an osteopath who makes her living campaigning against vaccinations?

She was spinning like mad after The Lancet retraction, selling the idea that people are "rightly" suspicious of government, the CDC, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Rightly? Why?

Who is making them suspicious, "doctor" Tennpenny? People like you, and medical "authorities" like actress Jenny McCarthy, who is now offering Dr. Wakefield financial support from her anti-vaccine group Generation Rescue in Austin.

Given a choice between a respected scientist and someone who follows a man who rejected the germ theory of disease, Dr. Tenpenny, the choice should be easy.

Only it's not, unfortunately.

The anti-vaccine mob, like the anti-science mobs and the anti-government mobs, are well-funded, they are politically well-connected, and they have had an immense influence on public policy over the last decade.

Maybe it is time for the silent majority to stand up. The child whose life you save may be your own.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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