California’s measles outbreak has climbed to 91 confirmed cases, prompting a vicious attack from USA Today contributor Alex Berezow against “anti-vaxxers.” He blames them for the epidemic that CDC officials say was introduced at the Disneyland theme park by a person infected with measles overseas.
Berezow’s knee-jerk reaction is to declare, “Parents who do not vaccinate their children should go to jail.” He erroneously maintains that measles could not spread in a fully vaccinated society and discredits as “ludicrous” concerns regarding the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Claiming there is a “mountain of data” proving otherwise, his one and only citation links to a page on the federal government’s vaccination-promoting website, Vaccines.gov. It offers a short, unsubstantiated article that begins with the flippant pitch, “Vaccines work really well,” and displays a single graph illustrating the decline in U.S. measles cases since the inoculation was introduction in 1962.
Berezow also illogically condemns religious objections as a violation of civil rights. “Your right to be sick ends where my right to be healthy begins,” he quips. (But won’t your inoculation protect your right to be healthy, Mr. Berezow?) He compares unvaccinated persons to drunk drivers who “pose an imminent danger to others” and says jail time for parents who turn “their children into little walking time bombs” is the only way to send a sufficiently strong message about the “deadly consequences of failing to vaccinate children.”
The illegality of Berezow’s proposal isn’t its only problem, but it is easily the most troublesome, considering our current regulatory environment. Writing for The New American during last summer’s Ebola scare, Alex Newman outlined state and federal measures already in place to strip personal liberties in the name of protecting public health. Roughly 80 percent of states across the nation have, since 2002, implemented in varying degrees the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, developed by a collaboration of government entities including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the UN World Health Organization. The act grants tremendous powers to states at the expense of personal privacy and individual freedom, allowing forced involuntary quarantines and government-mandated vaccinations during officially declared “emergencies.”