In the long, tiresome fight between people-who-believe-in-established-science and anti-vaxxers, the latest salvo to come hurtling out of Camp Ignorance has arrived: a vaccine-free daycare, right here in Ottawa. According to the National Post, Melissa Abekah’s Orléans daycare accepts only unvaccinated children. Her reason for this? She and her husband do not trust the ingredients in vaccines, and they believe that a person who receives a vaccine can transmit the disease to those around them for up to thirty days after the shot. She’s off by thirty days, but we’ve already ascertained that the Abekahs are not big on facts.
I really don’t feel like taking my battle-scarred club to a horse so long expired that it’s stiff and flyblown – but I will. If what I’m saying sounds familiar, it is. I wrote about this issue about eleven months ago:
The facts are swirling all around us, all day every day, free to all who choose to consume them. A quick trip to Dr. Google, and we are confronted with the possible encephalitis and death associated with measles, the effect of mumps on fertility and fetuses, the relentless rib-cracking pain of whooping cough, the sorrow of lives crippled and blighted by polio. The fact that these diseases were very nearly eradicated in so many countries for so many years after the advent of vaccinations speaks for itself. Combine that with the fact that these diseases are coming back to plague a new generation of children since the rise in popularity of vaccine refusal, and only one question remains: how can so many people armed with so much information continue to be so amazingly, lamentably dim?
Yet, somehow, they do. They ignore the findings of scientists and the warnings of doctors, choosing not to take simple – and, in Canada, publicly funded – precautions against their children contracting potentially damaging or deadly diseases. They talk about their right to make such a choice, ignoring the fact that their choice could have terrible consequences for their children, and other people’s children, too. And now there’s a daycare to cater to them. They are willing to take their unprotected child and put him or her in regular close contact with other unprotected children. As Ottawa Public Health’s Marie-Claude Turcotte observed, diseases will spread rapidly in such an environment.
In my opinion, vaccinating your children should not be a choice. Refusing to do so is tantamount to child endangerment, considering the frightening nature of many of the diseases addressed by vaccines. Furthermore, it does not only affect the parents or even just their children. It affects every pregnant woman, infant and immunocompromised person with whom they share a theater, restaurant, shop, bus or waiting room. It affects the small percentage of people whose own vaccinations were ineffective for whatever reason. It affects our healthcare system and those who depend on it, as we scramble for money and resources to deal with the fallout caused by the return of enemies we thought were beaten. A vaccine-free daycare is basically a petri dish providing the perfect conditions for the birth of a new epidemic, and should not be allowed to operate. There are all kinds of laws governing the conditions under which a person is allowed to provide childcare. I call on regulators to make this another one, and stop idiots like Melissa Abekah from causing another outbreak.