20 September 2005


The Washington Post put out an article today that made me shake my head. Seems like I'm doing that a lot these days.

When Trish Thackston's 7-year-old son, Connor, broke out with chickenpox recently, she quickly scheduled play dates with four families over the next four days at their Alexandria house.

The kids made art projects with glue and glitter, worked side by side on dinosaur puzzles and shared spoons, all with the intention of transmitting the illness to the healthy children. Her son, thrilled not to be sequestered from friends as he usually is on sick days, said excitedly one morning: "Who's coming over to catch my chickenpox today?"

Some parents, including Thackston, are shunning the chickenpox vaccine, introduced in 1995 and considered safe and effective by most health authorities, in favor of the old-style method of exposing children to the real thing at an early age. Today's parents may remember their own moms and dads tucking sick siblings in bed with healthy ones and inviting friends over to spread the illness.

Many who choose to expose their children believe that catching the illness at "chickenpox parties" is safer and more effective than using vaccines.

These people are idiots. That's a great idea -- expose your child to an illness, and let it run its course, a process you can't control at all. Their reasoning?

Many parents who don't vaccinate their children or who use vaccines sparingly worry that ingredients in the shots could cause autism or other disorders, although no connection between vaccines and these disorders has been proven.

In fact, the chicken pox vaccine has been shown in repeated studies to be safe and effective. One article reported the vaccine had an efficacy of 85%, and those children that did contract the disease experienced much milder forms. In addition, resources suggest infection with chicken pox does not confer lifelong immunity -- people infected as children have an increased risk experiencing the painful adult relapse of the disease, commonly known as 'shingles.' Of course, these people are looking out for the best interests of their children -- so what do they do?

For those in favor of pox play dates, finding each other has become much easier through the Internet, where parents can post e-mails on message groups seeking the pox or offering their homes for a party.

Because obviously that's the safest thing to do in this day and age. Meet a stranger on the internet and bring your kid. Actually, I found the scariest thing was that the second most commonly refused vaccine (following chicken pox) was the MMR shot. I just don't understand how a parent could willingly expose their child to potentially fatal or debilitating illnesses for which we have a cure.

The Story

1 comment:

Sideshow said...

People are morons. We all know that chicken pox is caused by little trolls that live in your stomach. I don't see any research being done on stomach trolls.