In the wake of Chris Christie and Rand Paul pandering to the anti-vaccine crowd using bankrupt personal liberty rhetoric (coherent libertarian ideology requires one to admit that externalities* exist), Sarah Despres, former Congressional staffer, connects Congress’ abdication of leadership on the vital health initiative of vaccinations for political expediency to the current revival of measles as something parents have to fear:
Few legislators were prepared to stand up for science…As for the others, the antivaccine evidence presented might have been shaky, but the science is complicated. And most members of Congress — on the committee and off — did not feel comfortable opposing the advocates and parents armed with heartbreaking stories of children whose autism seemed to come on just after they received their routine immunizations.
–Sarah Despres in Politico Magazine
*The economic version of the basic concept parents not named Ron Paul teach their children that their actions affect other people and that you are responsible for the effects of those actions.
They are among the more than 60 polio workers who have been killedsince the Pakistani Taliban banned polio immunization in 2012…The edict by the Islamic militants to ban immunization was in response to the CIA’s setting up a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign in Pakistan. The covert operation was part of an attempt by the U.S. spy agency to verify whether Osama bin Laden was holed up in the city of Abbottabad. – Jason Beaubien, NPR
Although we typically associate celebrity medical endorsements with disproven woonackery or dangerous foolishness, that is a bit unfair. We’ve always been able to recruit celebrity spokespeople for important public advocacy campaigns. In 20122, Amanda Peet made a splash for her advocacy in favor of vaccinations as a counter to Jenny McCarthy.