Even as the science supporting vaccines builds, people who are very much not scientists have continued to spout misinformation that has led to the spread of numerous diseases once thought nearly eradicated. Just last week, a measles outbreak hit Disney Parks in California effecting 70 people.
It was perhaps this growing concern that prompted Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to speak out against the anti-science being spread by the anti-vaxx movement, specifically the fact that people are taking what we do have for granted.
"We take vaccines so for granted in the United States," Gates said during a pre-taped HuffPost Live segment Thursday. "Women in the developing world know the power of [vaccines]. They will walk 10 kilometers in the heat with their child and line up to get a vaccine, because they have seen death. [Americans have] forgotten what measles deaths look like."
"I'd say to the people of the United States: We're incredibly lucky to have that technology and we ought to take full advantage of it," Gates added.
Unfortunately many of the members of the anti-vaxx movements who seem to think they know more about science than scientists have ignored the real science as well as the health and safety benefits afforded by vaccines. Amid the non-science being spread about vaccines, many people seem to have forgotten just how life-saving they can be, not to mention that fact that any link to autism has been completely disproven.
But as the recent outbreak in the Disney parks demonstrated, members of this movement have been causing real, human damage. James Cherry, a University of California, Los Angeles doctor specializing in pediatric infectious diseases, told the New York Times the outbreak was "100% connected" to the anti-immunization campaign.
"It wouldn't have happened otherwise — it wouldn't have gone anywhere," he said. "There are some pretty dumb people out there."
There sure are.