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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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What the editorial writers say: Get those kids vaccinated. Now.

[Above: You don’t have to take my word for it. Listen to C-3PO]

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The anti-science trend in American thought — denial of climate change, rejection of evolution, even of the Big Bang — also includes fevered, and wrong, beliefs that traditional childhood immunizations are bad for kids.

They aren’t. Every child should have them.

Failure to immunize endangers whole communities — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

"If it never rains, you don’t worry about mending that hole in the roof. If you drive your car for years and years without so much as a fender-bender, you could easily get lax about wearing your seat belt. Or paying your car insurance premium.

"If you live in a culture where you don’t know anybody who has ever had the measles or whooping cough, much less anyone who died from those now-rare diseases, it could be hard to understand the necessity of getting your children vaccinated for those and other once-common illnesses.

"In all cases, the neglect of such matters is mere human nature. Neat, plausible and wrong.

"The report in Sunday’s Salt Lake Tribune about vaccination rates in Salt Lake County elementary and middle schools was chilling. ...

" ... Failing to vaccinate children against preventable diseases is parental malpractice. It endangers those children, and the rest of the community.

"Schools and health care providers must redouble their efforts to get that message out. And the law must be more squarely on their side."

Trib Talk: Utah parents opting out of vaccines — The Salt Lake Tribune

"Ever since the medical journal Lancet published a discredited study linking autism to immunizations in 1998, vaccines have remained controversial and spurred an anti-vaccine movement. Now that movement is gaining traction in Utah public schools, where more parents of kindergartners are opting out of immunizations for their children. ..."

Are enough kids vaccinated in your child’s Utah school? An anti-vaccine movement is evident in some Salt Lake County schools. — Kirsten Stewart | The Salt Lake Tribune

Shots keep you immune from more than disease — Robert Kirby | The Salt Lake Tribune

" ... Waiting for my turn I pondered the irony of the Army giving me shots so I’d be healthy enough to send someplace to get shot for real. It was an irony I wisely kept to myself. ..."

Celebrity trumps authority — Frank Bruni | The New York Times

"What do you call someone who sows misinformation, stokes fear, abets behavior that endangers people’s health, extracts enormous visibility from doing so and then says the equivalent of ‘Who? Me?’

"I’m not aware of any common noun for a bad actor of this sort. But there’s a proper noun: Jenny McCarthy. ..."

Anti-vaccine movement puts children at risk — Casper Star-Tribune Editorial

"More vaccines, less disease. More vaccines, more lives saved.

"That’s been the case throughout history, and it’s still true today.

"Proving the point this time, surprisingly, is a recent wave of anti-vaccination sentiment, which experts link to an increase in the number of whooping cough cases in Wyoming and an increase in the number of measles cases in the United States. That disease was considered eradicated in the nation in 2000 but since has made a resurgence, and experts say that’s directly linked to the anti-vaccination movement. ..."

Measles outbreak may be another symptom of vaccine deniers — New Jersey Star-Ledger Editorial

"Measles cases are at their highest level in nearly two decades -- a sign that the crazies may be spreading, too. ..."

Vaccine refusal puts community at risk for disease outbreaks — Sacramento Bee Editorial

" ... Measles is one example. This highly contagious disease in the past brought brain inflammation, heart problems, blindness, deafness or death. It was eliminated in the United States in 2000, but is making a comeback in California because many parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children. So far this year, the state has had 49 cases of measles, 21 in Orange County. ..."

For the good of all, science must triumph over vaccination fears — Powell (Wyo.) Tribune Editorial

" ... This is nothing new. Such fears have existed since 1796, when scientist Edward Jenner developed the use of cowpox to combat smallpox, which had killed millions and disfigured millions more.

"Jenner’s revolutionary concept was met with fear and derision but in the end, ignorance was rejected and science triumphed. We can only hope the outcome is the same in this century."

It’s not an issue just in the United States, either:

On vaccinations — The Packet, Clarenville, Newfoundland, Canada

" ... The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine does not cause autism, nor do multiple injections overwhelm the immune system, as some would believe. Vaccines don’t contain cells from aborted fetuses. Some vaccines do contain preservatives, additives and adjuvants, but they are not harmful. ..."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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