Thursday, November 04, 2010

Oak Park voters, say it ain't so

I voted!
I originally published this post at the collaborative website
As I prepared to vote in Tuesday election, I was shocked and dismayed to find this referendum at the end of the ballot:
Shall the Village of Oak Park require those who inject vaccines, in the Village of Oak Park, to give the vaccine recipients, their parents or guardians the vaccine manufacturer’s specific package inserts of the vaccines they will receive, and to inform them that, thimerosal/mercury-containing vaccines, including but not limited to, influenza (flu), meningococcal (meningitis) and tetanus vaccines, may contain 3 1/2 times the daily toxic dose of mercury exposure for an 148-pound adult?
This is what’s called a leading question. Responsible survey writers try to avoid questions like these because they don’t give recipients a fair share at expressing their true, informed opinion. But apparently you don’t need to write a responsibly-worded referendum to get it on the ballot in our village.You just need 15 signatures.
Oak Park Public Health Director Margaret Provost-Fyfe and other medical experts have spoken out against the ballot referendum, but the leading question appears to have swayed enough voters and the referendum is poised for victory.
It’s too bad, because regardless of the fact that study after study that have demonstrated there is no link between autism and vaccines and the fact that vaccines are safe for the vast majority of people, fear continues to grip parents and they continue to delay or skip vaccinations. If too many people are freaked out by the list of scary-sounding ingredients in vaccines, will they refuse the shots? Will we lose herd immunity, so important for babies under 2 months, the immunocompromised and those who are truly allergic to vaccine ingredients? Will we make the news for something scarier than a crackpot ballot initiative–a potentially deadly pertussis or measles outbreak?
I sure hope not.
Flickr photo by Paradem