Editorial: Vaccination info should be epidemic
Disease is not political.
It doesn’t have an ideology. It doesn’t practice religion. It doesn’t espouse an opinion.
Disease just wants to grow and spread. And it’s usually pretty good at it.
So political arguments about vaccinations don’t faze diseases. The mumps couldn’t care less if you don’t believe your kid will get sick.
But politics seems to believe in disease. Especially in recent years as an anti-vaccination movement has led to more and more families choosing to avoid or delay inoculations.
That has, in turn, seen diseases that were all but eradicated making an unwelcome comeback. Pennsylvania had its first measles outbreak in a decade in May. Five cases were reported in Allegheny County.
And because nothing in today’s landscape can happen in a bipartisan fashion, state legislators have responded in very different ways.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, has pushed for a law that would prevent pediatricians from encouraging parents to vaccinate their children and choosing not to accept those families that haven’t vaccinated as patients.
On Tuesday, Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, and Bridget Kosierowski, D-Lackawanna, announced their own bill that would do the opposite: It demands parents who seek nonmedical exemptions to school-required vaccinations have a yearly consultation with a doctor about the risks. It also calls for schools to publish the number of students who have vaccinations and the number who don’t.
The issue of vaccines is polarizing. Parents can be fervent in their belief that they are doing the right thing for their kids — either by avoiding injections they don’t believe they need, or by preventing the spread of communicable disease.
So let’s instead focus on spreading something else. Accurate information. There is no reason that the most complete and scientifically supported data on diseases, treatments and vaccinations cannot be provided and encouraged.
Likewise it is not only possible but potentially life-saving for parents of children with compromised immune systems to have accurate statistics on the number of vaccinated students in their schools.
There is never a reason to inoculate ourselves against information. We should let it spread like the flu — airborne and epidemic.
Because disease doesn’t care about facts. But we should.