California’s Dangerous, Bipartisan Anti-Vaccine Movement

By Bethany Mandel, September 24, 2019, National Review

Activists left and right are protesting an effort to close loopholes in a state law mandating vaccination for schoolchildren. Here’s why they’re wrong.

There aren’t many policy proposals or causes that unite Left and Right these days, but in California, one has emerged: opposition to Senate Bill 276, which aims to close loopholes in a state law mandating vaccination for schoolchildren. Liberal and conservative activists alike have protested the bill at the state capitol and demanded that state legislators scrap it.

Unfortunately, this particular bipartisan movement isn’t just wrong — it’s dangerously wrong.

California has been the epicenter for anti-vaccine sentiment, and measles outbreaks, for the last several years. That’s not a coincidence; the former fuels the latter. When “herd immunity” dips too low, the entire “herd” is placed at risk. Anti-vaccine activists often ask, “If vaccines work and you’re vaccinated, why do you care if I vaccinate my own kids?” The answer relates to the herd: vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective, and for those too young or medically fragile to vaccinate, a vaccine-preventable illness could be absolutely catastrophic. Whereas Jenny McCarthy’s healthy son has a decent chance at recovering from the measles without suffering permanent damage, his classmate with a heart condition or her newborn baby sister can’t say the same.

For liberal anti-vaxxers such as McCarthy, the issue is one of safety and science; they don’t believe in the safety of vaccines or in the science. Despite studies and testing galore, despite the fact that the only medical professionals (e.g. Dr. Bob Sears and Dr. Andrew Wakefield) questioning vaccines are so controversial they’re losing their medical licenses, no burden of proof can ever be met.

Conservatives opposed to the bill, meanwhile, view it as government overreach. To take but one example, on the conservative cable network OAN’s show, Tipping Point, host Liz Wheeler recently told the Daily Wire’s Elisha Krauss, “To me, this bill is all about government overreach. Government power in any aspect of my life scares me.”

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