Carnes: Love your kids? Vaccinate |

Carnes: Love your kids? Vaccinate

For 25 years a popular advertising slogan asked the question: Got Milk?

The dairy industry wanted to sell more milk and milk-related products and the phrase became an American cliché, increasing sales and awareness nationwide.

Hooray for capitalism.

“Got Vaccine?” is a 50-year-old slogan I just made up, but the Homo sapiens industry wanted to save lives from easily preventable diseases, and have done so since the ’60s, saving millions each year across the planet.

Hooray for worldwide health interventions.

Yet here we are in 2019, with the measles virus — once deemed eliminated in the U.S. at the end of the 20th century — in the midst of a deadly comeback. This development is based on two distinctive fears: supernatural nonsense and medical science.

Twenty years ago we were cloning sheep, landing on Mars and celebrating 1-gigabyte hard drives, and now we’re having to debate with morons over whether or not the earth is round, watching allies behead teenagers for being gay and still killing one another over which deity is more peaceful.

We’ve not come a long way, baby.

April 30 marks the end of World Immunization Week, aiming to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against preventable disease, yet just last week more than 1,000 students and staff members at UCLA and California State University, Los Angeles were quarantined on campus or sent home to contain the spread of measles.


If you could perform an act that 99.9% guarantees that your child would not die from a particular disease, would you do it?

Of course you would, but even though there is not one single verifiable moment in human history proving the existence of a supernatural world, some now fall back on the premise of one mythical deity or another “telling” them not to vaccinate, while others allow pseudo-science to spread like cow dung on social media to convince them infinitesimal but possible side effects from the vaccine somehow trumps the potential death of their child.

I should also include the conspiracy theory nuts who refuse to vaccinate their children because it’s all a government plot to control our brains.

No matter how you spin it, mass ignorance is still just delusional ignorance.

Anyway, the Centers for Disease Control says the number of reported measles cases in the U.S. is the highest it has been in two decades, with 695 cases in 22 states this year so far, including one adult case in Colorado.

The Colorado House of Representatives gave final approval last Saturday to a bill that makes it harder for Colorado parents to get vaccine exemptions, thus helping the concept known as “herd immunity” where the vaccinated, when in sufficient numbers, can help the unvaccinated from being exposed.

It is incredibly sad we have to use legislation to protect our own children against previously eradicated diseases. It’s as if people choose to forget the lessons learned from 200 million measles deaths, millions more from whooping cough, tetanus, polio and smallpox (just to name a few) all because ancient superstitious cults decide it’s not what their particular deity wants (although the deity is always cleverly disguised in human form) or they were scared by a meme on Facebook.

As if …

Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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