• Politicizing medicine is a bad idea

    Andrew Sullivan is gathering up a bizarre debate on whether vaccine denial is a left or right issue. Here’s my take on it: I don’t care.

    From Boston.com:

    France and other European nations have been hit by a major outbreak of measles, which the United Nations health agency is blaming on the failure to vaccinate all children.

    The World Health Organization said yesterday that France had 4,937 reported cases of measles between January and March — compared with 5,090 cases during all of 2010. In all, more than 6,500 cases have been reported in 33 European nations.

    It’s hard enough to get people to do the right things when it comes to health. Shoehorning politics into those decisions will only make it harder. It may be fun to try and cast this in a political light, to score some points off one side or the other. But I wish everyone, especially the media and pundits would stop politicizing science. There’s a reason we have scientific methods; it’s to try and remove bias from research. Trying to re-inject it on the back end is foolish and counterproductive.

    Lest anyone think this isn’t a problem here:

    The disease has become so widespread in Europe in recent years that travelers have occasionally exported the disease to the United States and Africa.

    Measles symptoms include fever, cough, spots on the cheek, and a rash. It is spread through close contact including coughing and sneezing and is especially serious in babies and people with weak immune systems. Health officials estimate complications affect one in every 15 children infected, including pneumonia, seizures, and encephalitis

    Please get your children vaccinated. Whatever your reasons are for not doing so, politics should be the very least of them.


    • My son is an Aspie. I have followed the vaccine debate for years. The anti-vaccine movement is just bizarre. The data overwhelmingly supports the use of vaccines.


    • The recent resurgence of pertussis in California is another case in point.
      It’s great that we have come so far from the days of people dying from these diseases that people have no clue how devastating they were and how miraculous vaccines are.
      One case of pertussis I cared for had a cough which lasted almost 4 months, accompanied by recurrent episodes of severe laryngospasm requiring ambulance transport and hospitalization.
      These are not benign illnesses.