Charleston Gazette-Mail Op-Ed by Michael Brumage, Assistant Dean for Public Health Practice at the WVU School of Public Health and Executive Director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.
Jan. 15 was “Health Freedom Day” at the state Capitol, another attempt to legitimize one of the most dangerous and deadly attacks on rational and life-saving public health policy: the anti-vaccine movement.
The prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases is one of the 10 greatest public health achievements in the United States of the 20th century.
Why is a small but visible group of people attacking these life-saving interventions?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 42,000 childhood deaths and 20 million cases of disease were prevented at a cost savings of $14 billion in direct costs and $69 billion in total societal costs through the vaccination of each birth cohort in the United States with the current childhood immunization schedule.
If childhood vaccines are so beneficial, why is a small but visible group of people attacking these life-saving interventions? The arguments of the anti-vaccine groups rest on two main pillars of thought: the harm done by vaccines outweighs the benefits of using them and the rights of parents to choose what is best for their children.
Through a disinformation and misinformation campaign, groups seek to inflate the harm associated with vaccines by calling attention to adverse reactions, as well as additives and adjuncts to vaccines that have been proven safe in several extremely large studies…