Here’s the video:
And here’s the sort-of-transcript:
California is currently experiencing a whooping cough epidemic, also known as pertussis. 3,500 cases have been reported thus far and so far, two infants have died.
Meanwhile, Jenny McCarthy, TV personality and symbolic head of the US anti-vaccine movement, is busy debating between peonies and daisies for her upcoming wedding to New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg. McCarthy’s son, who was vaccinated and did not die a violent death as an infant, has just moved in with the couple in NYC.
The last time California experienced a major whooping cough outbreak, researchers determined that parents who filed for a non medical exemption from vaccinating their kids were more likely to live in a whooping cough outbreak area. Clusters of non-vaccinating parents were the exception to the rule, since California usually enjoys higher rates of vaccination than the average.
In other words, it’s likely that parents choosing not to vaccinate their children had a real impact on the spread of a deadly disease. And just to be clear, yes, it is a deadly disease. It’s not just an annoying cough – it’s the kind of cough that makes it so you can’t take a breath, the kind of cough that makes you vomit, the kind of cough that is so violent it can break your ribs. Healthy adults tend to survive it, but infants aren’t so lucky, as we’ve seen with this most recent epidemic.
It’s worth noting that the pertussis vaccine is not perfect. No, it doesn’t cause autism or lycanthropy or spontaneous combustion, but it’s not an instant cure-all. In fact, a large number of the cases in California appear to be in vaccinated individuals. The primary reason why this happens is because the vaccine doesn’t guarantee you’ll never contract the disease – it means that your chances of contracting it are severely reduced, and if you do contract it then your symptoms will be severely reduced.
The other reason why it happens is because the pertussis vaccine loses its efficacy as time goes on. Many adults don’t even realize that they need booster shots to stay up to date, about every 5 years or so.
So what’s the solution? Simple, at least in theory: we make sure that every infant who can get a vaccination gets a vaccination, and make sure that adults receive regular boosters on time. That way, we increase our herd immunity, which is just a fun way to say that we enjoy a protective bonus from everyone being vaccinated.
And maybe lets keep Jenny McCarthy out of California for awhile.