Scientific Illiteracy Leads to Failure to Vaccinate Which Leads to Death

Posted on July 27, 2012  Comments (2)

Anti-vaccination propagandists help create the worst whooping cough epidemic in 70 years by Steven Salzberg is a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine:

When the vaccination rates drop, everyone becomes more vulnerable to infectious diseases. When more than 90% of the population is vaccinated, we have “herd immunity” – this means the disease can’t spread because there aren’t enough susceptible people in the community. So the high rate of vaccine refusal in Washington makes it easier for whooping cough (and other diseases) to spread.

And now we learn that the U.S. is in the midst of the worst whooping cough epidemic in 70 years. One of the most hard-hit states is Washington, which the CDC just announced (on 20 July) has suffered 2,520 cases so far this year, a 1300% increase over last year. This is the highest number of cases reported in Washington since 1942.

The U.S. has had over 17,000 cases this year, putting it on track for the worst year since 1959. The highest rate of infection in the nation is in Wisconsin (which has also been hit hard by anti-vaccine effects), followed by Washington and Montana. 10 deaths have been reported, mostly in infants who were too young to be vaccinated. For all this, we can thank the anti-vaccination movement.

The failure of our society to appreciate the value of science has dire consequences. We are lucky to benefit from the results of scientific advances around us everyday. Some people, instead of appreciating the value of science waste these great gifts we have been given.

What people want to believe is up to them. When people’s actions risk others lives that is not ok. Drunk drivers risk others lives; therefore we don’t allow drunk driving. Society requires that people respect others right to live. It is sensible to require people to cooperate to limit damaging behavior: such as drunk driving or not being properly vaccinated.

Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing. The coughing can make it hard to breathe. Pertussis, or whooping cough, is an upper respiratory infection caused by the Bordetella pertussis or Bordetella parapertussis bacteria. It is a serious disease that can cause permanent disability in infants, and even death.

Related: Vaccines Can’t Provide Miraculous Results if We Don’t Take ThemDeadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All (book)CDC Report on Failures to VaccinateOur Dangerous Antibiotic Practices Carry Great Risks

2 Responses to “Scientific Illiteracy Leads to Failure to Vaccinate Which Leads to Death”

  1. S.R.
    July 29th, 2012 @ 3:54 pm


    Thanks for your article.

    One of the most important features of the scientific approach is to consider a problem from as many viewpoints as possible.

    The truth should be the objective, not established assumptions.

    We need to look at the data supporting any benefit from vaccines.

    But we also need to look at opposing data.

    It is a fact that vaccines contain dubious substances such as heavy metals, aluminum and toxic chemical preservatives (such as formaldehyde). Isn’t this a potential health problem?

    There are indeed stark indications that vaccines can cause harm, and do not protect as well as assumed against disease:

    I would be curious to hear how you would address the data presented in the article above (referenced from established sources).

    Thank you,


  2. curiouscat
    July 31st, 2012 @ 5:07 am

    The scientific method is about confirming hypothesis. That is not the same thing as “scientific approach is to consider a problem from as many viewpoints as possible.” There are plenty of spurious claims thrown out by people. There is no need to continually address the same misinformation.

    It is wise to examine contrary evidence based on sound scientific experimentation.

    The scientific community continually address improvements of vaccines and other treatments. It is true that vaccines are not perfect. They are tremendously helpful and have saved and improved likely hundreds of millions of lives. Sadly we are regressing in the last decade or two and the suffering due to those who chose to endanger others by not being vaccinated has increased greatly.

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