Public Health & Politicians

As measles spreads across the country, fueled by a large population of unvaccinated children, politicians are loathe to take a firm stand regarding mandatory vaccination.  Focused more on potential votes than on public health, at least two Republican Presidential Candidates have insisted that vaccination should be voluntary.

Despite clear scientific evidence that vaccinations have no direct relationship to the development of autism or other neurologic disorders, a significant minority of parents continue to heed the warnings of various pseudo-scientists and celebrities; refusing to vaccinate their children, they place the health of both their children and other citizens at risk.  Meanwhile, efforts to enforce a vaccination requirement for attendance in public school or community-based daycare is blocked by some politicians; ignoring the advice of medical specialists, they seem to argue that personal freedom trumps public welfare.

Once again, the value of science-based knowledge is minimized by those who are threatened by its ramifications; religious leaders, captains of industry and politicians are among those most willing to ignore (if not ridicule) scientific evidence.  As a result, many Americans dismiss the findings and recommendations of geologists, paleontologists, climatologists and virologists; public acceptance of evolution, global warming and vaccination is thus lacking and the welfare of both our species and our planet is placed at risk.