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So says Bill Moyers, in an article today:

Moyers: How Fear of Science Can Destroy Us

We haven’t even turned the page on the controversy over contraceptives, health care and religious freedom when another thorny one arises involving personal conscience and public health....
And he goes on to speak to the issue of vaccination. It's nice to have his voice on this, I think a lot of people consider him to be trustworthy.

It brightened my day, actually, to see something health-related that was so sane. Since early this morning I became depressed when I found this stunning incredibly stupid idea:

That's right. Homeopathic first aid. Bad idea jeans.

Now, certainly adults have the right to spend their money on sugar water rather than stitches if they choose. Or maybe instead of treatment for a concussion or something. If they want a Darwin Award, I welcome that, actually.  (But if you are going to treat a kid's concussion with sugar water--I have a problem with that.)

Mitchell & Webb beautifully described this in Homeopathic A&E:

But choosing not to vaccinate is different. The community relies on vaccination of as many people as possible to protect its most vulnerable members: kids too young to be vaccinated, kids with leukemia like my nephew, adults undergoing cancer treatment, and medically fragile folks of all sorts including seniors.

I don't want to be alarmist about the flu. But I am hearing stories from very reliable sources about their concerns for the H5N1 flu variants. This could someday become a serious public health issue.

If large numbers of people might opt out of vaccination (or rely on homeopathy) in a pandemic, there are consequences for the community. I attended a CDC meeting about vaccination once--and of course I was called a shill for asking for scientific evidence from some anti-vax warrior moms. (But I'm immune to that because it happens here all the time too--heh.) And certainly some of them will never be convinced. But some people are reachable.

But what I'm asking is that you reach out to the reachable before it becomes an issue. Spread Moyers around on your social networks. Because he's right:

When and if a contagion strikes, we can’t count on divine intervention to spare us. That’s when you want a darn good scientist in a research lab. We’ll need all the help we can get from knowledge and her offspring.

Originally posted to mem from somerville on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 03:40 PM PST.

Also republished by SciTech.

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