Fear-based movement

Anti-vaxxers rely on junk science to prop up their irrational views

The Los Angeles Times has described Robert “Dr. Bob” Sears as a “celebrity to fearful parents and an irritant to infectious-disease doctors.” That’s because Sears, an Orange County-based pediatrician, subscribes to controversial views when it comes to vaccinating children: He believes that parents can “safely raise an unvaccinated child in today’s society.”

Of course, there is some truth to that stance. Vaccines have wiped out most childhood infectious diseases. That means it’s far less likely that children, those whose parents forgo inoculations, will contract a potentially life-threatening vaccine-preventable disease. Then again, given the safety of today’s vaccines (there is very little risk of complications) and a recent anti-vaccination movement spurred in large part by false information, it’s also an extremely irresponsible position.

Underscoring that point is the recent re-emergence of diseases such as measles, which had been wiped out a decade and a half ago.

We also find it irresponsible that a member of Blue Oak Charter School’s parent council was disseminating Sears’ views, which include finding loopholes in California’s new vaccination law, Senate Bill 277 (see “Protest on principle,” by Howard Hardee, page 8). The physician notes a number of ways in which to get medical exemptions, listing familial autism as a means, though the link between that disorder and vaccination has been thoroughly debunked by the medical establishment via numerous peer-reviewed studies.

It’s time to get beyond this irrational fear-based movement that may endanger our children. Schools, whether it be their administrators, staff or parents, need to turn to legitimate sources for accurate information in order to make informed decisions. As we’ve said before, the science is there. Let’s learn from it.