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Last night, Jon Stewart addressed the current state of diseases and vaccines in the United States during a lengthy segment on The Daily Show. If you’ve been keeping tabs on local news, you may have noticed more and more reports of the measles creeping back into the States. And Jon Stewart is here to explain why, if you haven’t already, you should go and vaccinate your kids.
The measles was once an eliminated disease in the US. Note that doesn’t mean a disease cannot return. Instead, it simply means that in the United States people were vaccinated enough with the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine that outbreaks no longer occurred when people brought the disease into the country from other places. Now, enough people aren’t vaccinating their children that outbreaks have occurred in Disneyland and in other places across the United States. Stewart, like many Americans, finds this ridiculous.
Stewart’s video takes us to Marin County, California where an affluent woman describes how she has not fully vaccinated her kids. But don’t worry; she’s from an upperclass, educated area, so obviously choosing not to vaccinate her children has a thoughtful mental process behind it. Stewart takes her down by calling it “mindful stupidity.” What it is is really scary.
Vaccine ignorance is becoming a huge deal. A recent survey indicated that a huge chunk of the population—especially in the millennial demographic—still believe the debunked theory that vaccines can cause autism. It doesn’t help that politicians, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have been documented as pivoting their stance on vaccines. The New Jersey governor vaccinates his kids, but he also says:
I also understand that parents need to have some measure in choice of things, as well.
Having a measure of choice in what to feed your kids and where to send them to school is not the same thing as knowingly opening them up to the possibility of measles and other diseases. Kids sometimes die who get the measles. It’s incredible that this is still a debate when it has already been proven that the measles can easily be eliminated in the United States. Yet, measles outbreaks have been on the rise for several years.
The vaccine debate spurs from a 1998 report written by Andrew Wakefield that found a connection between vaccines and autism. Unfortunately, that report was fraudulent and Andrew Wakefield was stripped of his medical license. Vaccines have no known connection to autism. And more importantly, kids who aren’t vaccinated are not only a threat to other kids who aren’t vaccinated, they can also pick up major diseases that can threaten babies too young to be vaccinated and segments of the population that also can’t get vaccinated, like people with certain health problems. Take a look at how measles outbreaks have spread in 2014.
So, take a note from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and vaccinate your kids. You can catch other words of wisdom from Stewart on weeknights at 11 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.