I know it's true, oh so true, 'cause I saw it on TV......by Barbara Kapetanakes, PsyD. on 01/26/15
In the news this week is an outbreak of measles that can be traced back to Disneyland. Dozens of people in 11 states are suffering with the disease right now and I'm sure there are more to come.
In 2000, the US declared measles eradicated. Decades of vaccinations had led to measles being a thing of the past. Around that same time a doctor published a study declaring that vaccines could cause autism. Autism awareness went up, diagnostic criteria changed causing an increase in the diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorders, and people panicked. Despite the fact that the original study was never replicated, despite the fact that it was proven that the original study was based on fudged data and questionable subject sampling, despite the fact that measles and other "eradicated" diseases can be fatal or crippling, an anti-vaccine movement ensued.
And now, as of this writing, 68 people have measles.
The Internet is a wonderful thing. We can find information instantaneously, we can connect with like-minded individuals, find support, etc. It is also a very dangerous thing, since misinformation can be passed on as gospel and spread like wildfire. No scientific research has ever found vaccines unsafe for the general population. Let me say that again. NO scientific research has EVER found vaccines unsafe for the general population. In fact, it is the opposite--through mass vaccination efforts we have eradicated diseases that plagued our ancestors only a generation or two ago. Expectant mothers got rubella and gave birth to children who were deaf, blind, mentally retarded, or a combination of all three. Polio crippled a future president. In 2015, we thought we had nothing to worry about. But we do.
Be very careful when reading information. Check your sources. A doctor who lost his license to practice and a former Playboy model and comedian are probably not the best places to get medical advice. Click those links that lead you to the actual research papers. Read the actual research. What journal is it from? Who wrote it? Has it been replicated or disputed? THEN make your (now informed) decisions.
People die of measles. If you want to choose not to follow your doctor's advice, at least do it armed with information from reputable sources.