Hey, how about some Science Nice Time? California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state’s new vaccine requirement into law today, over the cries of “Government Oppression!” and “Big Pharma! Big Pharma! Big Pharma!” from anti-vaxxers. The bill eliminates exemptions for personal and religious beliefs, even though many Californians will be sad because their precious unvaccinated disease vectors will not be allowed to attend public schools.
The San Jose Mercury News — if you want to piss off anti-vaxxers, that’s the newspaper name that’ll do it — reports that “California now joins only two other states — Mississippi and West Virginia — that permit only medical exemptions as legitimate reasons to sidestep vaccinations.” We’re hoping that number increases, even if it results in some butthurt from people who think vaccines are rape or maybe that they’re made from dead babbies.
The elimination of the religious and “personal belief” exemptions were prompted by a massive measles outbreak that began at Disneyland and eventually caused 136 cases of the disease in California alone, according to state health officials; cases related to that outbreak were also reported in seven other states, as well as Canada and Mexico. Or, as the head of the California State Assembly’s GOP put it, a “one-time incident”
Yr Wonkette would like to join biologist Steven Salzberg in welcoming California “back into the modern age,” and while we’re at it, we’d like to bet Robert Kennedy, Jr. that he was wrong when he predicted that passage of the vaccine law, SB 277, would murder all the children. Back in April, Kennedy, whose own six kids are all vaccinated, saw a movie about the Vaccination Threat, and said to an anti-vaxxer audience:
“They get the shot, that night they have a fever of a hundred and three, they go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone,” Kennedy said. “This is a holocaust, what this is doing to our country.”
Mind you, Kennedy did later apologize for the “holocaust” comparison, but not for the loony anti-science part of what he said. It was just that he really, really wanted to warn people about the (nonexistent) link that he thought the movie showed between vaccines and autism:
“I employed the term during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives over over twenty million children and shattered their families,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I am acutely aware of the profound power attached to that word and I will find other terms to describe the autism crisis in the future.”
So, sorry about the offensive metaphor, but not about spreading pseudoscience. In any case, Yr Wonkette is willing to bet Kennedy a Blu-Ray copy of Schindler’s List that in 10 years, California’s autism rate will remain about the same, but that the state will see a sharp decline in measles and other infectious diseases: In 2012, thanks to anti-vaxxers, California also had its worst outbreak of whooping cough in 70 years.
We realize we’re putting a lot on the line here — not just our reputation, but also the possibility that in 10 years nobody will be selling Blu-Ray discs.