Because there are people out there who think this is a good idea:
You’ve probably heard of “chickenpox parties,” where parents get unvaccinated kids together (in the home of an infected child) in the hopes they’ll catch the disease. They think making their kids suffer through the disease will help them develop stronger immunity than immunization would provide.
But now the buzz is all about people shipping objects that have been contaminated with the chickenpox virus to people who live too far away to attend a pox party.
A Nashville TV station Thursday reported on a local woman who charged $50 a pop to ship suckers smothered in saliva by her sick kids.
Orac at Respectful Insolence has already written a great post about the epic stupidity (on so, so many levels) of this little scheme, and I don’t want to reinvent the wheel by repeating the same points. Suffice it to say that it’s a really, really bad idea.
No, what strikes me about this is how clearly it renders the losing battle we face when we confront anti-vaccine zealots. These people would rather pay fifty bucks for a fruit-flavored petri dish on a stick, inoculated in a stranger’s mouth with God only knows what flora and then allowed to incubate during shipping before giving it to their unwitting kids to suck on, rather than give their kids a vaccine that has been clearly demonstrated to be safe and effective. I could reanimate the corpses of Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister and Jonas Salk to explain in minute detail why vaccines are safe and effective, and these people would carry on with their moronic plans. After innumerable studies (and a certain very significant retraction), what more can big, mean ol’ science have to say that these cretins will believe?
Nada, of course. Which is why I am so happy to be in a practice that doesn’t accept vaccine refusers. If you won’t let me administer something so foundational to pediatrics, so deeply set in the standards of care, then how can we possibly build a good physician-patient/parent relationship? We can’t. You won’t be happy with me, and I certainly won’t be happy with you. Best we just recognize that, and move on.