I can’t believe that I’m even raising the issue of immunizations in this public venue, because I know it’s like setting a loaded pistol on the table, but I have been feeling very, very strong Ways about a Thing that happened to me recently and this is my journal, and other than posting up my old Playboy paraphernelia, venting is what my journal is here for. I need to share. If it makes you hate me, then, well … we must henceforth agree to disagree on this matter and remain friends in all other ways. Also, you’re an idiot.
Last week, I had a tuberculosis test and clearance performed by my doctor to satisfy the requirements of a new job. (Result: I am not consumptive. Huzzah.) During that same week, I had a training in a nearby city to which several of my new colleagues and I drove together. In the car, I innocently remarked that I was waiting for the results of my TB test but joked that I was probably in the clear since I hadn’t visited Dickensian London lately.
One of my new colleagues — let’s call her Annette, although that is not her name — then snorted, folded her arms, and said, “I haven’t done that. I don’t believe in immunizations. They can’t make us get them.”
I chuckled nervously and said, “Pretty sure you have to do it in order to work with kids in this state. And it’s not an immunization, technically; it’s just a test for tuberculosis.”
“Tom [not her husband's name] and I haven’t immunized any of the kids,” she said, because why should she respond to the logical thing I had just said? “You know that those shots cause autism, right?”
This was the wrong thing to say to me because I’m close to several children with autism spectrum disorders and their mothers, and I do not personally know a single well-informed parent or guardian of an autistic child who buys this. Yes. Yes, autism is caused. It can’t possibly be due to genetic and neurological factors that we simply don’t yet understand.
I love Jenny McCarthy as much as the next guy (more, probably), but, come on: like I said, this might make you hate me, but there is zero — zero — evidence, as the American Association of Pediatricians, the American Medical Association, and even the American Psychiatric Association have repeatedly reported, that there is a link between autism spectrum disorders and vaccines required by public schools in most developed nations — required because they’re intended to protect our children from the communicable diseases that have, in the past, devastated infant and child populations. Let’s be scientific for about half a second, all right?
And this is a test. For tuberculosis. Who objects to that? Realistically, who in the name of easter seals objects to being simply tested for freaking consumption, in order that you do not spread it to little children who will die of it?
At this stage of the conversation, I backed out, because when I’m offended, I freak out and shut down. However, another woman in the car said tentatively, “Annette, you know, whooping cough is really bad this year. There’ve been deaths.”
“I know, but I just don’t believe in immunizations.”
The driver and one of our immediate supervisors, who had minutely shook her head through most of the conversation, then said, “The school is actually asking for pertussis shot records during re-enrollment. Didn’t you get the kids their shots?”
“No. If everyone else has them, then it shouldn’t be a problem,” Annette snapped, and rolled her eyes. Because, you know, we’re the tiresome ones.
I don’t believe in immunizations.
That’s okay, Annette — smallpox believes in You. What a straight-up cunt.
People landing on this by searching the internet for blogs about links between autism and vaccines in order to start a fight or brag about your opinion, you may officially commence hateration.
… But please know that if we don’t know each other and you start talking a bunch of bullshit about obscure studies that no major, legitimate sources support, and acting like you for-sure know a speck of a jot of a modicum about what causes autism, which people who’ve gone to college for over half your life cannot yet figure out and are dedicated to trying to concretely discover rather than accept mediocre malarkey in order to feel like there is a satisfactory scapegoat to make it all better, I am going to probably make fun of you. Not even kidding. I’m at a stage in my life where I’ve grown sick of sugar-coating my opinion of other people’s ignorance. Especially when it might make a child, whether I know him or not, gravely sick. Get ready for a whole lot of “go fuck yourself.”