Parents in the Pacific Northwest have had it with the anti-vaxxer movement that is putting their children at risk, and are fighting back, reports the Daily Beast.
According to the report, "Over the past month, a measles outbreak—fueled by anti-vaxxers—has spread through parts of Oregon and Washington State. The number of people infected by the viciously contagious, all-but-eradicated disease had spiked to 49—in Clark County, Washington, and Multnomah County, Oregon —on Monday night."
As of 2000, measles was effectively eliminated in the United States but has seen a frightening resurgence as anti-vaxxer misinformation has spread on the internet.
Portland, in particular, has been designated as a “hotspot” for the anti-vaxxer movement.
The cause, the report notes, is the rise of the anti-vaxxer movement that disregards science and traffics in conspiracy theories that the Federal Drug Administration is in cahoots with the pharmaceutical companies to cover-up evidence that vaccines cause autism, among other ills, in children.
"Some moms with newborns have quarantined themselves in their houses to stay safe," reports the Beast's Natalie O'Neill. "Others fear sending their kids to school, especially private or charter schools, where vaccination rates are among the lowest in the country."
According to one mom, 37-year-old former nurse Lauren Dunn, she fears for her 7-month son, who is too young to be vaccinated and has yet to develop natural immunities.
“It’s a dangerous time for him to be exposed. And it’s a really scary time for me and my husband,” she said in an interview. "Every time we bring him to daycare, it’s nerve-wracking. But there’s nothing we can do; my husband and I both work.”
Ryan Brady, a father of a 2-year-old who has a baby on the way, agreed.
“Portland prides itself on being so progressive, and yet it’s like we’re back in the 1890s,” he lamented. “People are freaked out. Parents with babies are scared to leave the house—and I don’t blame them.”
According to Brady, the stunning rise in measles cases can be traced directly back to the anti-science anti-vaxxers. and medical professionals who are becoming gun-shy about even suggesting vaccinations.
“The parents who caused this are just plain irresponsible,” he said “You can raise your kids however you want. But this is a choice that affects other people’s children. My wife and I got asked three or four times by doctors and nurses if we were sure we wanted to vaccinate our daughter. The way they phrased it, we almost thought, ‘Wait, should we?’”
Parents on the other side of the equation are pushing back, saying they have a legal right to not vaccinate their kids and complain that they are being subjected to death threats.
“I’ve been told I’m a terrible mother, that families like mine should live in quarantine, that we should be jailed—and that our son should be taken from us,” explained Jodie B., a 45-year-old mom who supports what she calls “vaccine freedom.”
Jodie added that she believes her 3-year-old son suffered encephalitis and developed autism due to vaccines he was injected within Texas in 2016 -- but conceded she can't prove it.
According to Dr. Peter Hotez, a microbiologist at Baylor University, the somewhat liberal Northwest is an epicenter for disinformation.
“The anti-vaccine movement is particularly strong in Oregon and Washington,” Hotez explained. “Conspiracy theory plays a big role. There is so much misinformation."
As the two sides battle, one school felt compelled to issue a warning to parents that their children may be in danger.
“Our reported vaccination rates are low,” the Cottonwood charter school email read. “Staff and parents without an immunity to measles [may be required] to stay home for 2-3 weeks in order to contain a potential outbreak. This will be disruptive to your families and our classrooms.”
Parents replying to email were furious, with one mom writing, "“Insane!!!! Parents that listened to Hollywood stars not vaccinating their kids—this is the result!”
Another mom put it more bluntly.
“Honestly what is wrong with people? Let’s eradicate a disease — but then bring it back just for fun because we’re a stupid society!” she wrote.
You can read more here.