Footnote: Invalid immunization fears
As a quick footnote to that, I am aware that there are those in the US who declare that they will not have their children vaccinated on the claim that the vaccines are, or rather something contained within the vaccines is, connected to autism and there is some sort of vast conspiracy of silence within the US government, particularly the Centers for Disease Control to hide the fact. At least some among them say - I have had this argued directly to me - that there is no need to take that risk because so many other children get immunized that there is no chance of their child getting, in this case, measles.
Those people are wrong. They are wrong scientifically and they are wrong ethically and they are wrong practically.
Wrong scientifically because there is no reliable evidence that the substance in question - a mercury-containing compound called "thiomersal" internationally and "thimerosal" in the US - is connected to autism.
Wrong ethically because by their own argument they want everybody else to risk their children so their own children will be "safe."
And wrong practically because the net effect is to increase the risk to their children of getting measles: After the live measles vaccine was introduced in the US in the early 1960s, the number of new cases plummeted from over 500,000 in 1962 to just 37 in 2004. But by the end of October this year, there were already over 600 cases, already making it the worst year here in 20 years.
And I can't help but wonder how many of those kids had parents who said "I won't get my child immunized because they'll never get measles."
Sources cited in links: