As more parents refuse vaccines for kids, old-school diseases make a comeback

October 18, 2011

(Julia Ewan/The Washington Post)

“So now places such as San Diego and Minneapolis are the backdrops for mini-epidemics of deadly diseases not seen in generations,” says columnist Petula Dvorak, who mentions whooping cough, measles and diphtheria as some of the diseases.

The trend started about a decade ago, Dvorak says, when people started to believe there was a link between vaccinations and autism, fueled by studies from British doctor Andrew Wakefield. “Numerous medical studies have debunked the connection between vaccines and autism, but parental resistance keeps rising anyway,” Dvorak notes.

What does Dvorak think will help parents regain trust in vaccines? Barbie. CDC Barbie to be exact.

“Barbie could put on a tiny labcoat and little white high heels to go with her pro-immunization message. That’s not a far-fetched idea, given the overwhelming data being ignored by parents.

Earlier this year, Wakefield’s study was at last retracted by the British medical journal Lancet because some of the data turned out to be bogus.

Still, the number of parents who won’t trust shots keeps rising...,” Dvorak says.

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