After years of steady progress, the percentage of 2-year-olds in private health plans getting immunized dropped last year. ...
Insurers attribute the decline to parents' fears that vaccinations could be linked to autism. Though public health experts and government studies have found no evidence that vaccinations cause autism, the subject has been subject of fierce debate on the Internet and outspoken celebrities have fueled the controversy.
According to a report by the National Committee on Quality Assurance, vaccination rates dropped for measles, mumps and rubella (90.6% in 2009 from 93.5% in 2008), diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (85.4% in 2009 from 87.2% in 2008) and chickenpox (90.6% in 2009 from 92% in 2008).
The repercussions of non-vaccination are nasty; a few years ago, 839 people, including three babies, got the measles -- all thanks to one intentionally unvaccinated kid.
Naturally, there's a lot of blame to go around. For brevity's sake, let's limited ourselves to the most respectable, high-profile fear-mongering assholes:
"As everybody on the planet knows, thimerosal is a neurotoxin. Injecting it at the levels they do and used to do, and still do, by the way, into the bloodstreams of infants must do something." --Don Imus
"I can’t prove it, but intuitively, you look at the spike [in autism], you look at thimerosal, there is no doubt in my mind… we’re gonna find out that thimerosal causes, in my opinion, autism." --Joe Scarborough
"It’s time for the CDC to come clean with the American public. Its tactics of deception and obfuscation are jeopardizing the credibility of the entire vaccine program and posing an enormous danger to public health." --Robert F. Kennedy Jr.