Doctors have warned for some time that the anti-vaxxers are putting us all at risk by eliminating herd immunity from common childhood diseases, and now, with measles, it’s happening.
In case you’re tempted to think this is just a weirdo California thing, it’s not.
I think it is time to consider legal action at the federal level to compel vaccination. I don’t know what the limits on federal law should be, but what we have now is not working. Again, if somebody wanted to take the risk of measles, pertussis, and so forth upon themselves, I would respect their right to be foolish. I have a much more difficult time respecting their right to subject their children to these diseases in the absence of scientific grounds for it, but I could be persuaded that respecting the parents’ right in this matter is important.
What I cannot accept is that these people, acting without any scientific grounds for their belief, are putting everybody else, and everybody else’s children, at medical risk (there is a small but nontrivial chance that you will acquire the disease even if you have been vaccinated).
this is not a matter of being intolerant of an unpopular opinion; this is a matter of preserving public health from a serious communicable disease, one with potentially grave complications. It’s a matter of what we can afford to tolerate for the sake of the common good.