Mickey and the Measles

Mickey Mouse has the measles

Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue at Disneyland California. Image shot 2009. Exact date unknown.

We’re adding a new area to the park, Mickey. StoopidTown.

By now, you’ve no doubt heard about the measles outbreak that is centered on Disneyland, resulting in multiple measles cases since December 2014. Some of those affected were children too young to be vaccinated; the others were old enough but “chose not to be” vaccinated. This should really be phrased as, “chose to put the public at risk.”

Because, let’s face it, anyone who has chosen not to be vaccinated, or has opted to not have their children vaccinated is, in reality, choosing to put the safety of everyone around them in jeopardy.

Too bad there isn’t a vaccine for stupid.

I believe that parents should be allowed the freedom to make the decisions that they feel are right for their kids. However, choosing not to vaccinate isn’t just about making a choice for that child; that is making a choice for each and every person that child ever comes into contact with, including teachers, friends, parents of friends, and complete strangers. Not vaccinating is also making a choice for all the people those people come in contact with, and so on, and so on. Literally, thousands of people are having their health compromised because one child is not vaccinated.

I’m no lawyer, but doesn’t that infringe upon my civil right to be safe? I mean, our rights only apply so long as they don’t infringe upon the rights of others, and potentially giving me the measles – or worse – is definitely infringing.

It amazes me that some of the same people who got up in arms over Ebola coming to the United States – a disease which, in the scheme of US epidemics, was barely a blip – will not protect against diseases that scientists and doctors and researchers spent decades eradicating.

I’ve heard the argument: Vaccines are poison. Want to hear the names of some other poisons? Smallpox. Polio. Influenza. Not vaccinating your child is like sticking a skull and crossbones on her back.

I’m not denying the reality that there are risks associated with vaccinations. A world without risks does not exist. But the most common side effect of vaccinations is tenderness at injection site. Really? You poke sensitive flesh with a sharp instrument and there is tenderness? Heavens to Betsy!

[Side note: Who is Betsy? Where is she located? How do we get the heavens to her?]

The other day on the news, a woman who chose not to vaccinate her second child (but, contrary to most anti-vaxxers, seemed well-educated about her decision) expressed the opinion that one cannot expect a public forum, like a school, to require all students to be vaccinated in order to protect the well-being of children who, for medical reasons, cannot be vaccinated.

Yes, we can, because we already do! Schools, churches, and other public forums have become “nut free” in order to protect those with deadly peanut allergies. My (hypothetical) kid is not allergic to peanuts, so why can’t she bring a PBJ for lunch just because your (hypothetical) kid is? Obviously, we can’t expect schools, etc., to enact policies to protect children with compromised immune systems, now can we?

In this same newscast, I learned that, at least in North Carolina, anyone who seeks a religious exemption from vaccinations does not have to “prove” that they qualify. And, any exemption that is not medical is religious.

No, no, and no. If you are going to use your religion to justify potentially putting my (hypothetical) kids in danger, you are damn well going to prove it. I need to know that you actually participate and truly believe in religious denominations that do not believe in vaccines or blood transfusions, etc. Because if you choose not to vaccinate based on anti-vaxxer propaganda and use religious exemption to explain your choice, you are invalidating the choices of people who are actually making a valid choice.

Believing that Jenny McCarthy actually has the brain power to present cohesive scientific arguments is not a valid reason for not vaccinating.

Spay and neuter your pets. Vaccinate your kids. It’s not that difficult.

About Laura

Artist, writer, designer and nerdy creative based in Charlotte, NC. Loves Harry Potter, Firefly, Doctor Who, country music, and Nathan Fillion. Wheelchair-user, due to osteogenesis imperfecta aka brittle bone disease.