Sunday, May 07, 2006

MOVE and Immunizations

It is without reservation that I will be dedicating the next few blog postings to the plight of the children of the MOVE Organization. What inspired me to do this, aside from my continuing concern for MOVE’s youngest victims was a radio show aired on National Public Radio that pertained to immunizations.

For those of you who do not know, MOVE denies immunizations to it’s children as an extension of it’s overall animus towards science and modern medicine (unless of course, it is being used by the group’s leaders).

To be sure, MOVE is not alone in it’s anti-immunization views. Certain Christian fundamentalist churches oppose immunizations as do certain cults that are predominantly African-American. Also, the anti-vaccination movement has now taken hold amongst those who adhere to a kind of secular, naturalistic outlook. And this is all very unfortunate.

For me, when I left MOVE, the issue of whether or not I should immunize my child became something that I had to wrestle with, and without going into to much extraneous detail, I concluded that the benefits of immunizations, by far, greatly outweigh the risks.

Something that should concern parents who do not immunize their children is the reality that there are frequent outbreaks of deadly diseases such as Measles amongst groups of un-immunized children. Measles is one of the most severe and contagious diseases of childhood and is virtually universal among un-immunized children throughout the world. According to experts, just about everyone who has not been immunized will contract measles, and 90% will do so before the age of 20. Among non-immunized people, measles was the eighth leading cause of death throughout the world in 1990. And Measles is just one of many deadly diseases that can befall un-immunized children.

Now I suppose by this point anyone who is against immunizations is preparing to counter my point with the argument that one particular immunization has been conclusively linked to Autism. This, however, is simply not the case as further studies have indicated. That said, immunizations, like any medical procedure, is not fully without risk. Nevertheless, anyone who takes an honest appraisal of immunizations will realize that not only are they safe, but that they also have contributed greatly to our standard of living and have added about 30 years to our lives.

Periodically, there are outbreaks of diseases that should have long since been erased from our memory. Incidentally enough, one such deadly outbreak occurred in Philadelphia in the early 90's.

During that time a measles outbreak tore through the city causing confusion and frustration for the medical community who had a hard enough time diagnosing the disease, not to speak of treating it.

Eventually, the pieces of the puzzle were put together and it was discovered that the outbreak had it’s genesis in fundamentalist churches who abstained not only from immunizations, but any health care at all. A number of children infected died as a result of their parent’s misinformed choices.

Now I fully realize that MOVE members would claim that there has never been such an outbreak within their tiny community. And that may be true. But what is also true is that according to experts, MOVE as usual, is playing with fire, and the lives of their children. What is also true is that over the years a number of MOVE infants have turned up dead under very suspicious circumstances. MOVE, traditionally has blamed the death of their children on police attacks. However, at least one former member of the group disputes this claim and instead asserts that these babies died from untreated ailments.

Either way, MOVE has historically treated their children as disposable props in their public relations stunts, and I for one, think it very much past time that they be held accountable.


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