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Vaccines, Autism and Paying More

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I gladly found the article on cnn.com by Rahul Parikh: Make anti-vaccine parents pay higher premiums. It it written by a physician who advocates making parents who are anti-vaccine pay higher insurance premiums.

The reasons he give are compelling. First of all, not vaccinating your children is not just a danger to the child, but to the larger community. It simply is not the case that only the direct people who don’t get the vaccine who will be put at risk of the disease. Children too young for the vaccine are in particular risk. Take, for example, the fact that Whooping Cough deaths are at the highest level in California since 1950! Second, the choices that parents who refuse vaccinations for their children directly lead to an increase in the cost of healthcare for the rest of society.

It makes me sad to hear the rationalizations that people give for not getting vaccines — they think they are being risk averse by not getting the vaccine. I’m sure there is some cognitive bias in people that makes it difficult to see how taking action is in any way less risky than not taking action… but I would bet that the majority of the parents who are opting out of vaccines have no idea what the risks are.

The last rationalization that I hear is some odd conspiracy theory about how every medical scientist who ever runs a study to find out whether vaccines are dangerous is in the pocket of a company who is paying them to fake or misrepresent the data. All of those scientists whose life work is to study what makes healthy… promoting things they know are unhealthy, for the money. That’d be pretty damn incredible.

Remember kids: get your shots!

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