We knew this was coming: “Imagine cities, countries, and entire continents ravaged by Ebola-like outbreaks, with millions dying in the streets from crippling, incurable, and fatal diseases,” someone named Eliyahu Federman writes over at Fox News. “That is what the world looked like before the middle of the last century - before the widespread use and development of vaccines that eradicated these diseases.”
And of course the return of this pestilence is all on Jenny McCarthy: “Celebrities like Jenny McCarthy are scaring parents out of vaccinating their children, spreading misinformation and promoting conspiracy theories, such as the long-disproved claim that vaccines cause autism.”
Conflating death in the streets with reasonable concern that vaccines cause autism is really pushing it, wouldn’t you say? The fact is that an effective response to a rapidly spreading epidemic – Ebola in Africa – is completely consistent with taking action to end a slower but no less damaging one in America – autism and other disorders caused by the bloated and out-of-control CDC childhood immunization schedule.
And isn’t it interesting how the CDC has ended up on the wrong side of both? Its stewardship of the response to the arrival of Ebola on our shores has been so messed up that President Obama just appointed a lawyer – a lawyer, not a doctor! – to run things from here on. As far as I can tell he has zero background in public health whatsoever. What a relief.
I thought only medical professionals were qualified to make decisions about such things as disease control and prevention. But maybe not – maybe they let infectious people on planes, don’t provide effective protection to the help (aka nurses), don’t “scramble the jets” when they really do need scrambling (Ebola), and do scramble them when they don’t (chickenpox, influenza, rotavirus, etc).
Rather than demonstrating the bankruptcy of concern over vaccination policies, Ebola points to the bungling of the people who are in charge of those policies.
Now, whether a vaccine for Ebola would be a good thing or not, the fact is there is't one. What we’re seeing at the moment is the importance (and, unfortunately, the failure) of common sense public health measures – quarantining the infected, getting basic sanitation and safe water and health infrastructures into the developing world, and finding not just preventives, but treatment. Using the blood of people who’ve survived Ebola to treat people fighting infection is an old idea – the diphtheria toxin-antitoxin was derived from the blood of infected horses. But it works!
Taking advantage of Ebola to claim once again that vaccines don't cause autism – when the fact is, vaccines do cause autism – is really quite unpleasant, not to mention irrelevant. We have to retain the ability to prevent and respond to urgent outbreaks like Ebola along with the slower-moving kind. It’s taken 25 years of a bloated and corrupt vaccine policy, but half the kids in this country now suffer from some kind of neurodevelopmental or chronic condition.
That’s what's killing us, not Ebola.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism