I'm in shock after watching tonight's episode of Private Practice. It's about a child bringing measles into a medical clinic. Parents who don't vaccinate are called child abusers and portrayed as pariahs. Measles is shown to be a serious disease, and in the episode a child dies from measles, something that is rare, happening once in every 5000 cases. Being that the total number of US measles cases in 2007 was 42, the likelihood of seeing a measles death is extremely rare, especially for school-aged children. A doctor forcibly vaccinates the child's brother for measles in the show, against the will of his mother. One of the parents who doesn't vaccinate is dowdy and slightly hysterical; the other a drug addict. The show breeds a dangerously vicious intolerance for freedom on conscience and acts as a mouthpiece for the CDC. Is it any coincidence that the CDC is holding a meeting in Ashland, Oregon this Saturday because 30% of the kindergartners are not vaccinated for measles. This topic has been all over MSNBC. An article in Discover said that the number of measles cases had dramatically risen from 2007 to 2008 and was at its highest level in more than a decade. According to the CDC, 63 of the 131 new cases of measles from January to July 2008 were among those unvaccinated. The majority of the cases (68), however were among those vaccinated. That wasn't mentioned in the article and is never addressed. It just doesn't make sense that unvaccinated kids put vaccinated kids at risk as long as the vaccines themselves are effective. I find it particularly amusing, if it weren't so tragic, that the show was about measles, a mild disease that my friends and I all had as children. The portrayal of the disease in the show is far from the truth. When will the CDC learn that they will not persuade intelligent parents with fear and awe, but only when they acknowledge the validity of our concerns?
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1/9/09 at 2:46am