You can’t be too careful

Oh, so this is where ‘respect’ for ‘beliefs’ gets you.

While many parents meet deep resistance and even hostility from pediatricians when they choose to delay, space or reject vaccines, they are often able to find doctors who support their choice…“I don’t think it is such a critical public health issue that we should force parents into it,” Dr. Sears said. “I don’t lecture the parents or try to change their mind; if they flat out tell me they understand the risks I feel that I should be very respectful of their decision.”

Why? Why does Dr Sears feel he should be very respectful of parents’ stupid, misinformed, dangerous to their child and other children decision? What exactly is it about a decision of that kind that Dr Sears feels he should respect? Its selfishness? Its irresponsibility? Its lack of evidence? Its ignorance? Its cluelessness? What is there to respect? If the parents told him they let their child rollerskate on the freeway, would he respect that? Why respect a decision not to vaccinate?

In a highly unusual outbreak of measles here last month, 12 children fell ill; nine of them had not been inoculated against the virus because their parents objected…Every state allows medical exemptions, and most permit exemptions based on religious practices. But an increasing number of the vaccine skeptics belong to a different group — those who object to the inoculations because of their personal beliefs, often related to an unproven notion that vaccines are linked to autism and other disorders.

‘Personal beliefs’ that are not religious beliefs (which I don’t think should be ‘respected’ on medical issues anyway) but just plain old beliefs, and wrong ones at that. That’s a stupid reason for an exemption.

“The very success of immunizations has turned out to be an Achilles’ heel,” said Dr. Mark Sawyer, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. “Most of these parents have never seen measles, and don’t realize it could be a bad disease so they turn their concerns to unfounded risks. They do not perceive risk of the disease but perceive risk of the vaccine.”

They ignore the real risk and fret about the bogus one. And Dr Sears feels he should be very respectful of that. Whatever.

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