Should Anti-Vaccination Decisions Be Criminalized?

It's time to start calling out stupidity and criminalizing it when necessary. Those who willingly refuse vaccinations for their children must be educated. When education fails, then they must be fined. When fines fail, they must be put in jail and their children taken away from them if necessary.

Those who refuse vaccinations for their children out of some misguided and uneducated notion that they are protecting them do nothing of the sort. What these people do by refusing vaccinations is endanger not only their children, but other children as well. There needs to be punishment for such stupidity. If forced vaccinations cannot be mandated, then these children cannot be allowed to attend school with other children or receive public services.

Two years ago, in 2012, Colorado was listed as having the second-highest rate of vaccine exemption in the country. What did this mean for Colorado? For the second year in a row, cases of Whopping Cough, an entirely preventable disease with vaccinations, has hit epidemic levels. In 2012, 20 Whopping Cough (known as Pertussis) deaths were reported to the CDC nation-wide.

Pertussis cases 1990-2013 (CDC)
Pertussis cases 1990-2013 (CDC)

Since 2011, Colorado has seen a dramatic increase in cases of Pertussis. Children who go unvaccinated are eight times more like to contract the disease. Research shows that outbreaks of preventable disease are more likely to occur in places where vaccination rates are low.

With stupid people like Jenny McCarthy and Jay Cutler's idiot wife, people throughout the country are being misinformed about the link between autism and vaccinations and being compelled to avoid vaccinating their children. This directly leads to more sick children and is a public health concern.

When one person's stupidity leads to extreme risk for others or for communities in general, criminal charges need to apply. As stupid parents reject vaccinations, this leads to disease outbreak, and massive public health expenditures.

Cases of Pertussis 1922-2012 (CDC)
Cases of Pertussis 1922-2012 (CDC)

Polio Eradicated in India

Did you know that only five years ago (2009), India had most of the world's polio cases?

Now? They have zero. None. The World Health Organization has certified India as being polio-free. How did they do it? Wishful thinking and protests about vaccines causing autism? No, in fact, they eradicated polio by getting everyone vaccinated, a pretty amazing feat considering how many people live in India.

Polio Vaccination Refusal in the United States

With the dramatic increase in the refusal of vaccines in the United States comes the refusal to vaccinate for polio. Prior to the polio vaccine, 13,000 to 20,000 cases of paralytic polio were reported in the United States each year. The result was thousands of victims, mostly children, in braces, crutches, wheelchairs, and iron lungs.

In Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria, the resurgence of polio is mostly due to parents refusing vaccinations for their children. If the anti-vaccination movement continues to gain strength in the United States, how long before we see a polio outbreak here?

Measles Outbreak in California

California is having its worst Measles outbreak in decades and the CDC reports that cases of Measles in the U.S. are at a 17-year high. While the rise of the anti-vaccination movement is not proof by itself that it's the cause, it's hard to imagine it isn't a factor. In the case of Measles, not getting vaccinated puts both children and adults at risk because the Measles vaccine wears off over time. If everyone is vaccinated, then nobody is at risk. If people stop getting vaccinated, then the risk increases for a lot of people.

What Should the Penalties Be?

So what should the penalties be for parents who refuse to vaccinate their children? Here are some ideas:

  1. Fines - the cost to society and our health system for those who don't get vaccinated is potentially astronomical. Those who decide to refuse vaccinations should have to pay those costs.
  2. Deportation - if those who refuse vaccinations think that their choices don't affect others, then they should go live in a country where there are no vaccinations and allow the rest of us to live without the fear of getting an eradicated disease.
  3. Kids are taken away - It's worth considering taking away the children of parents who won't behave intelligently to keep those children safe or who don't act in the best interests of their children.
  4. Jail - You endanger the health and life of your child and other people in such a massive way, you should be put in jail.

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8 comments

crankalicious profile image

crankalicious 19 months ago from Colorado Author

They're wussies.


rootchildren6 19 months ago

You are not supported by the American Association of Pediatrics.

"In a highly immunized population in which disease prevalence is low, the risk of disease from the small number of children who remain unimmunized does not usually pose a significant-enough health risk to others to justify state action.20 Diseases with very high morbidity and mortality (such as smallpox), however, might create a situation in which even a single case of infection would justify mandatory immunization of the population. For most routine vaccines, less forcible alternatives can be used justifiably to encourage parents to immunize children because of the public health benefit. In the case of vaccines routinely recommended for children, the AAP supports the use of appropriate public health measures, education, and incentives for immunization.7"

Furthermore your position is distinctly anti- American. You would fit in well in communist China. Please leave.


crankalicious profile image

crankalicious 2 years ago from Colorado Author

There's definitely no evidence that vaccinations cause autism. That whole conspiracy was started by Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his claim has been thoroughly debunked. I've provided a link to that effect. However, you are exactly right. Even if it were true, you'd be reducing one risk and increasing a whole bunch of others in addition to endangering other people. Penn and Teller's video speaks to that a little.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago

I'm sorry, Crank, I''m not trying to make light of autism. I work with a person who has Asperger's and I've known some people with truly autistic childlren in their families. I'm glad my children and their children aren't autistic. I just feel like some doctors are using it as a catch all to explain away behaviors in some childlren. My ex-husband probably would have been diagnosed as autistic if there had been such a diagnosis in our day because he didn't speak until he was two years old. He turned out to be as normal as any of us. I, too, would like to see the evidence that autism is caused by vaccinations if there is any. If I were a new mother and had the choice between taking a chance on autism or on losing my child to a deadly disease, I would still choose vaccinations.


crankalicious profile image

crankalicious 2 years ago from Colorado Author

MizBejabbers,

Very much appreciate your thoughts. I think this is a really interesting topic for a dialogue. The only thing I take a minor disliking to is the dismissal of autism. I think autism is devastating for families who have to deal with it and I don't know what I'd do if one of my two kids had it. They're hard enough to deal with as is. I don't want to dismiss the tragedy of a parent who gets a diagnosis of autism. However, there is simply no evidence that it's caused by vaccinations and that kind of fear-mongering, particularly from certified intellectual lightweights like the ones who are promoting such things, cannot be allowed to happen.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago

You are correct that it is a public health concern. As a wise Spock once said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.” Today individual rights seem to be outweighing any kind of public concerns, and that seems to be the problem. It isn’t just children being put at risk because two people in my office in their 30s have had pertussis (whooping cough) in the last year. At one time exceptions to vaccinations were made only to people who could prove strong religious beliefs, mainly Jehovah’s Witnesses, now anybody can have a waiver just because he or she has an uneducated opinion. If these people could see what some of us oldsters saw, children in iron lungs, children with braces barely walking with crutches, etc. they would have their children vaccinated for polio with utmost haste. Autism, you’ve gotta be kidding. Today every misbehaving or slow child is diagnosed with autism.

When I was a kid, back in the Dark Ages, if we were not vaccinated, we could not attend school. Today an unvaccinated child can be home-schooled, but the child still associates with others in public places from church to WalMart, so the problem is more serious. I’m not for taking away individual rights, but I think they should be seriously weighed against public welfare, and those who rebel should be penalized in some manner. Perhaps it should be a felony child abuse offense.


crankalicious profile image

crankalicious 2 years ago from Colorado Author

I hadn't seen anything like this written or proposed. The result of some of these decisions is going to be disease, death, and massive expenditures by our health system. What's the penalty for causing that?

Thanks for reading!


Act 3 profile image

Act 3 2 years ago from Athens, GA

Thanks for writing this hub. I agree with you about the importance of vaccinations. There are many thousands of children with depressed immune systems due to chemotherapy or other medical conditions. Exposure to something like whooping cough or measles is seriously life threatening for them; even a fever will land them in the hospital. Anti-vacc'ers are endangering the lives of others. I'm not sure what the penalties should be, but thank you for your statement.

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