The anti-vaccination movement is dangerous.
Not vaccinating your children makes them susceptible to many diseases that they could spread around to other children. So, doctors urge for a vaccine-friendly plan.
A group of Wisconsin mothers understand that. And they decided to do something about it.
The mothers discovered that one of their neighbors is an anti-vaxxer hiding in plain sight.
In a letter that was later posted on Imgur, they explained why the anti-vaxxer's beliefs put the entire community––particularly young children––at risk.
"Your neighbor, ______ does not believe in vaccinating herself or her family."
"This puts anyone at risk if they are medically fragile, immunocompromised, or out of date in their vaccinations. Please use caution when sharing work or personal space with this individual, eating foods prepared by this individual, or attending gatherings at this individual's house if you or the people who are important to you fall into medically at-risk categories."
"The unvaccinated pose a unique threat to infants, who often don't yet have a full course of vaccinations completed, and can quickly become deathly ill or die."
"People who are unvaccinated have caused outbreaks in Arkansas, Oregon Washington, California, New York, North Carolina, Michigan, Virginia, Texas, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Florida, Minnesota, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, with more outbreaks expected. Nearly all outbreaks of disease were started by unvaccinated individuals, who pass along vaccine-preventable diseases to those without adequate protection."
"People who don't believe in vaccines often hold other views that are at odds with widely accepted facts related to science and medicine. Protect yourself, your family, and your community by using caution when interacting with these people."
"They have caused hundreds of thousands of vaccine-preventable disease in recent years, costing several hundred million dollars around the globe, not including the costs associated with preventable deaths and disabilities. The outbreaks and subsequent deaths they cause are tracked here: https://www.vaccineswork.org/vaccine-preventable-di..."
"Thank you, and be safe."
Their move received a mixed response.
"Can we do this with flat-earthers, climate change deniers, and believers in trickle-down economics as well?"
"There are some times it's f*cked up to shame people like this. But if they're an antivaxxer, they deserve every bit of it."
"So how do you know which people are 'these people'? What is your grand idiotic method of finding out who these monsters are?"
"I typically strongly discourage singling people out for their beliefs. Except Anti-vaxxers. Shame them all you want"
"Sometimes, public shaming is the right way to go."
"Medical records are private. This should be considered "hate speech" by current social standards and this group of moms could be sued."
"Not believing in vaccines is like not believing in wind."
Those who are against vaccinations have claimed that there is a link between vaccinations and autism.
In fact, a recent study of more than 650,000 people in Denmark found no link between being vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella and developing autism. The study is the largest of its kind and discounts a tiny study "published more than 20 years ago that has since been expunged from the medical literature" according to one report.
The sole study that claimed a link was found to be full of poor adherence to scientific research protocols making the results dubious at best and entirely worthless. Yet people still cling to one discredited study as "proof."
The results, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, was conducted by researchers at the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen, give us insight into the scope of this study, which involved 657,461 Danish children born between 1999 and 2010.
Some of the researchers involved in this study published an earlier article on this same topic in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002. That study based its data from 537,303 Danish children born between 1991 and 1998.
According to Anders Hviid, one of the researchers involved in the study, conducting similar research was important because the concerns from a very vocal minority that there could be a link between vaccines and autism is as present as ever.
"The idea that vaccines cause autism is still going around. And the anti-vaxx movement, if anything, has perhaps only grown stronger over the last 15 years. The trend that we're seeing is worrying."
Hviid notes that the size of the study allowed researchers to investigate other claims that are made about MMR vaccine, such as a rather common one:
That children already considered "at risk" for developing autism could develop the condition by receiving the vaccine. The same argument has also been made in cases of children who have autistic siblings.
As Hviid and his co-authors wrote:
"We found no support for the hypothesis of increased risk for autism after MMR vaccination in … Danish children; no support for the hypothesis of MMR vaccination triggering autism in susceptible subgroups characterized by environmental and familial risk factors; and no support for a clustering of autism cases in specific time periods after MMR vaccination."
Let it go.