The anti-vax crowd likes to tell us that their refusal to vaccinate their children presents no risk to anyone other than themselves, denying the medical science that says that immunization is not fully effective unless at least 90 percent of the population is vaccinated. No vaccine is one hundred percent effective and even some who have been vaccinated may become infected by a person who has refused vaccination.
In the recent outbreak in California traced back to Disneyland, as with the whooping-cough outbreak last summer in that state, the principle of “herd immunity” is once again being proved. Two of the Disneyland employees who contracted the highly contagious disease had been vaccinated and the outbreak has spread far from the “happiest place on earth” to include all of California, three other states and Mexico and to people who have had no contact at all with any Disneyland employee or anyone who had been to the park.
The LA Times reported that in spite of the rapid response of Disneyland, the outbreak it is continuing to spread.
“As soon as the OC Health Care Agency notified us on January 7, we immediately began to communicate to our Cast to raise awareness,” said Dr. Pamela Hymel, Chief Medical Officer, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in a statement. “In an abundance of caution, we also offered vaccinations and immunity tests.”
The park has also placed five employees who could not verify immunization on paid leave until they are tested for immunity, three have been cleared to return to work.
On Tuesday, Orange County Health officials confirmed two more cases, bringing the total in the county to 18. The county has also barred about two dozen Huntington Beach High School students from attending classes until January 29 because they were unable to provide proof of vaccination.
This outbreak comes as no surprise to the medical community which has warned of a return of diseases long since thought to be eradicated. Medical experts have warned that vaccination is not effective unless a sufficient part of the population is vaccinated.
While anti-vaxxers insist that it is a matter of personal liberty to make the choice to forgo vaccination, this outbreak and the whooping-cough outbreak last summer are excellent arguments for requiring a mandate. It is not a matter of liberty, it is a matter of behaving responsibly for the common good.