I’m With Stupid

One of the interesting thing about discussing vaccination with pro-vaccine people is that they often think they more intelligent than a non-vaccinating person simply because they have taken the “right” stance. I can not count the number of college educated people who have said that they are grateful no one dies of mumps or rubella any more because of vaccination, who have no idea what an adjuvant is,  do not know that the smallpox vaccine has caused the most recent cases of diagnosed smallpox, do not know that pertussis in vaccinated individuals is frequently asymptomatic, and have no clue that most countries that declare measles “eradicated” have not actually met the requirements for doing so.

These good people are shocked when they find out that they don’t know as much as much as they thought. They were honestly under the impression that  a few “ra-ra- go team!” stories about Jonas Salk, Edward Jenner and the eradication of smallpox with some slogans from billboards and pediatricians and few buzzwords like herd immunity were all they ever needed to understand vaccination.

I have encountered doctors who tell patients that vaccine failure is impossible despite reports from health agencies which confirm otherwise. Others say that vaccine reactions don’t actually happen (despite the fact that our nation’s public health agencies have set up both a vaccine adverse reaction registry and compensation fund for vaccine adverse events victims). Of course it goes the other way too. I’ve seen a few people who spout vaccination conspiracy theories as their proof for their stance. And whenever either side runs out of ammunition they bring up dying children to bolster their view.

It’s human nature. It’s easier to join with the “right” side and not have to actually become educated- it saves us from having to actually ask uncomfortable questions that may cause us to question our current health practices. Of course, there is a lesson in all this. It’s never enough to be on the “right” side. Once you outsource your decision making process to other people, you put yourself in a position where you are relying on them to be 110% interested in your well-being with no self-interest. And that’s never going to happen. It’s far better to do the uncomfortable work to educate yourself. Don’t be with “stupid” and don’t be with “smart”. Inform yourself.