Pertussis vaccine: It’s what you know that ain’t so

Writing for City Journal, Paul Howard and James R. Copland examine The Whooping Cough’s Unnecessary Return. This is interesting:

Parental concerns about vaccine safety are mostly wrongheaded. Plaintiffs’ lawyers, eager to translate junk science into jury awards, have long spread misinformation about the dangers of vaccination. They’ve been especially successful among the affluent and well-educated, presumably because those groups have greater access to vaccine pseudoscience. [emphasis added]

No surprise there. We all know pseudo-educated adults who pick up bits of information here and there, accept what fits with their prejudices, fears, and superstitions, and never, ever seem to question the source or examine the evidence. This is a failure (one among many) of our so-called educational system, as well as a tribute to the human propensity to believe what one wants to believe. Objectivity is something that doesn’t come naturally to most humans. It needs to be taught and practiced.

But ignorance can be deadly. The very young are more likely to die from pertussis and have done so in California and elsewhere. Even among the vaccinated, immunity (never 100%) wanes over time. A vaccine for kids 11 and older, and for adults, is available.

Related, also in City Journal: The Virus of Hysteria, a review of the book, Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All, by Paul A. Offit.

Also related, our own run-in with pertussis last spring.