Should Anti-Vaxxers Be Arrested for their Decisions?
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Jail - You endanger the health and life of your child and other people in such a massive way, you should be put in jail.