As a parent, I can understand the visceral fear of possibly placing your child in harm's way. But the reality is, you can potentially cause them more harm by not vaccinating. There are many who still see a link between vaccines and autism, but for me and most public health scientists, the jury is out: vaccines are innocent in this matter.
Measles is a serious and highly contagious disease, but, fortunately, we can prevent it with immunizations. I understand that some parents are concerned about vaccines. The evidence about the MMR vaccine's safety and benefits is strong and consistent. Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions I get...
If people are afraid -- and it is fear that underlies the refusal to vaccinate -- they don't need to be badgered or sneered at, they need to be reassured. And that reassurance comes best from someone they trust. If not Roald Dahl, perhaps an older person who might remember what it was like before vaccines.
Hopefully one of the outcomes of this recent Disneyland measles outbreak will be more research to confirm the underlying psychological drivers of Vax-O-Noia. Unless we understand the root cause of this persistent threat to public health and apply that understanding to the task of addressing people's fears, episodes like the current outbreak will continue to occur