I just got my call from Ottawa Public Health asking me to confirm that my children have been immunized before the next school year.
This tells me that they are taking immunization quite seriously.
I know that I will never have a chance at convincing anti-vaccinators that the benefits of immunization outweigh the risks, even if they are 100% right in their accusations (which I don't believe they are). It makes me feel a little sad and defeated, knowing how many people are afraid and are being pushed by that fear.
I wish our public officials and scientists had always been worthy of the trust we put in them. I wish we still could have absolute faith in scientific results without having to look up a list of corporate sponsors. I wish people hadn't hidden discoveries or interpretations they found inconvenient to their desired results.
People are absolutely right to be suspicious. We have been lied to in the name of profit and convenience. But there is a difference between critical thinking and awareness and simply dismissing anyone in a position of authority. Credentials do not automatically mean "liar".
I understand the appeal of being able to point to something simple and say "there's the problem". I understand the need to find something to blame, preferably something preventable and outside the family. I even understand the blindness which comes from a desire for vengeance on a group or practice which families believe has harmed their children. It's all a common reaction in human history, one which has led to some of our worst collective decisions: like wars, the witch hunts and genocide.
Instead of hoping that I can change their minds, instead I hope the anti-vaxxers stand up for what they say they believe in. Admit that you have not had your child vaccinated and accept the consequence of not being able to send them to school. Don't lie and put every one else at risk. If you truly believe that what you are doing is right, then stand up and be publicly counted for it.