That’s the warning from public health experts as more and more schoolchildren are not getting basic vaccinations to protect them — and all of us — from preventable disease.
Michigan makes it easy to avoid immunization and after years of increasing public concerns over side effects and government intervention, the rate of those going unvaccinated is dangerously high.
After millions of years of being vulnerable to infectious diseases, the moderately clever humans engineered a way to avoid many of them. What a boon to humanity! And now, we’ve gone the next stage, and become so pseudo-clever that we deliberately and knowingly reject that engineered fix, so that we can have more infectious diseases again.
How fucking stupid are we.
A recent outbreak in Traverse City shut down a 1,200-student charter school for a week, infected students at 14 other school buildings in the region, and has sickened dozens of people and forced hundreds into quarantine.
The culprit was pertussis — also known as whooping cough — a disease once thought to be nearly eradicated.
But Grand Traverse County has an undervaccination rate six times the national average. And nearly 1 in 5 of the kindergarteners (17 percent) at the charter school, Grand Traverse Academy, had parents who signed waivers exempting the children from required vaccinations.
Whooping cough. That’s a horrible disease.
Last week, the other shoe dropped in Grand Traverse: Two residents were diagnosed with measles, the most contagious disease known to man and one that can have serious complications.
It happened in Traverse City. It could easily happen in communities throughout Michigan.
Michigan has one of the highest vaccine-waiver rates for kindergartners in the country, three times the national median, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the number of kindergartners getting vaccine waivers is growing. In five years, it’s increased 23 percent, the CDC says.
The CDC warns outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases are most likely to occur where “unvaccinated persons cluster in schools and communities.”
Such clusters exist in a third of Michigan public and private schools housing kindergartners — that’s more than 800 school buildings scattered across 68 of the state’s 83 counties, according to the MLive analysis.
Many of those clusters are in affluent and well-educated communities, such as Traverse City, Troy, Grosse Pointe and Clarkston.
Well-educated enough to read woo about medical subjects but not well-educated enough to realize they’re bullshit.
Those opting out of vaccines tend to be health-conscious families who buy organic food, give their children health supplements and are drawn to alternatives to Western medicine. They cite internet websites skeptical about immunizations and worry the risk of vaccines outweigh the benefits.
Yeah that kind. The Prince Charles kind. They’re “health-conscious” so they buy into bullshit.
“Michigan is one of the worst states in the country” in terms of vaccine-waiver rates, and communities with high waiver rates should be “very concerned,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a leading authority on vaccinations in the United States and chief of the infectious diseases division at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“When you have a fairly large number of people who are choosing not to vaccinate, that puts not only their own children at risk, but also everyone else’s,” Offit said.
A little learning is a dangerous thing.