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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Anti-vaccination stupidity

In this TCS article, Glenn Reynolds highlights the recent mumps outbreak and the resurgence of other similar diseases. He concludes with the following:

If I were to start a drug company, and peddle a drug with no more evidence of its safety and efficacy than anti-vaccine activists and their media allies had to peddle their approach, and if as many people were made sick, or killed, as a result, I'd probably be in jail now. So where's the accountability for the people whose bogus claims and hysterical coverage led to this situation? Nowhere in sight. With that sort of an incentive structure, we're lucky that we're not in worse shape. Thank God.

He brings up one of the problems with our litigious society. We look to cast blame when something we do goes wrong. We do nothing when something we don't do goes wrong.

In this case, people who have heard anti-vaccination propaganda choose not to vaccinate their children, and in this case, their lack of decision renders these children susceptible to diseases that can cripple or kill.

We need protection for vaccine manufacturers against lawsuits related to their vaccines. Yes, a vaccine can kill in rare cases, but so can crossing the street to get to the doctor's office. Consider the consequence of a society where no company wants to manufacture flu shots: a human-to-human transmittable new flu strain, sickening millions and killing tens of thousands. The tragedy of inaction demands this protection so that we can see this positive action.

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