Parenting is full of tough choices, but some choices are pretty easy: we always use seat belts, we insist on a helmet, and we vaccinate our kids. Unless, of course, we live on the westside of Los Angeles County, where vaccinating doesn’t make “instinctive” sense. Wait, what?
Apparently, parents within L.A.’s wealthiest communities have a big problem vaccinating their kids against life-threatening diseases on the basis of “a diffuse constellation of unproven anxieties, from allergies and asthma to eczema and seizures,” according to Hollywood Reporter’s Gary Baum.
Come on, my fellow Angelenos, just because you heard through the private-school grapevine that some vaccine somewhere caused some reaction this one time, doesn’t make life-saving vaccines any less safe or effective.
The Atlantic reports that school vaccination rates within exclusive Westside neighborhoods have dropped to alarmingly low levels, while cases of preventable illnesses such as whooping cough and measles have reached endemic levels. Reporter Olga Khazan goes on to say, “A community can only be protected when 92 percent or more of a population is immunized, and many of L.A.’s elementary schools are dipping far below that number. These parents aren’t just risking their own kids’ health, they’re risking everyone’s.” Grrrrrrreat. As if a catastrophic water shortage and the impending threat of “The Big One” weren’t enough for us SoCal parents to worry about.
Before the privileged attempt to absolve themselves of something as realistic or unattractive as raging communicable disease, let it be known that according to the Centers for Disease Control, measles cases have reached a 20-year record high. You know who we have to thank for at least half of measles’ breakout role within our community? California’s unvaccinated patients. Some City of Angels.
Allow me to speak for a moment to my fellow L.A. parents in a language we both understand:
DUDE, get over yourselves and vaccinate your kids. No amount of super-organic immunity booster in your kid’s green smoothie is going to protect them or the community at large from devastating illness. No essential oil or chakra balance session is going to do it either. Put down your iPhone 6, cancel your aerial yoga class, reschedule your raw food lunch, and TCB like a responsible parent and citizen of the human race. Vaxx is the new black.