A pediatrician takes the anti-vaccine movement head on

Would you rather have your kids get measles or autism?

That’s the choice that anti-vaccine proponent Jenny McCarthy lays out on the talk show circuit. But in a LA Times column, pediatrician Rahul Parikh comments, “At best, that’s a false choice; at worst, it’s a sick, horrible wish for her or anybody else’s child.”

He further observes, rightly, that the anti-vaccine movement has done a much better job communicating their agenda, and utilizing social media, than doctors have. That’s one reason why their message is gaining traction and resonating with confused parents.

And despite the staggering amount of evidence demonstrating the safety, vaccines will always have a target on their back.

“After we spend millions of your healthcare dollars to disprove these hypotheses,” Dr. Parikh writes, “they’ll move the target to something else.”

Indeed, “as they run out of ingredients to blame, they’ve turned their ire against pediatricians, painting them as some monolithic group of people who march to the beat of drug companies, both parties bent on making profits from vaccines at the expense of children.”

In other words, no amount of data will convince those who refuse vaccines. Rather than fighting a reactionary battle with them, it’s wiser to spend money proactively promoting the benefits of vaccines, or even better, convincing parents what will happen if more begin to refuse them for their kids.