Firstly, let it be known that measles isn't a joke. You don't necessarily recover in a few days. People seem to have forgotten that measles can still be fatal, even in 2011. That's why we vaccinate against it. The symptoms are horrible, and the consequences can be worse. It isn't like catching a cold, or a tummy bug.
It can definitely be said that Andrew Wakefield is partly responsible for parents not wanting to vaccinate their children, after his horrible 1998 study which apparently showed that there was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Although he was later shown to be a fraud - conducting the study with conflicts of interest- and his study to be inaccurate, his data had cultivated doubt about vaccines in the minds of the public.
I'm mentioning him for two reasons: one- that anybody with doubts about vaccines should know who he is, and that he's a quack, and two- that although correlation by no means equals causation, most of the cases of measles in England and Wales this year have been in kids ages 10-14. These are the children who should have been vaccinated around when Wakefield's original Lancet paper was published, but before it was shown to be bunk. Of course this is just me speculating, but it seems possible that his study could be part of the cause. Or maybe just a coincidence that makes him look even worse.
Also- I checked the stats on the OECD website, and apparently the United Kingdom only has an 86% vaccination rate- that's horrific. We are 25th of the 29 countries with data on the site. Ouch.
It's not just the UK either! Jenny McCarthy & Co seem to have been working their evil, evil magic in the USA- they've seen 118 cases so far this year. Normally they only see 50 cases of measles in a full year- this is the highest number for Jan-Mar since 1996.
I know that teens aren't the most likely people in the world to be having dilemmas about whether to vaccinate their kids, but hey, there's no reason not to know about the anti-vax movement. You can be of use to your own parents and relatives, friends- or anyone who's confused or unsure about the safety of vaccines. Or you can store the info in your amazing, ultra-cool noggins and bring it out in the event you do have children. The overwhelming message? VACCINATE YOUR BABIES PLZ.
As a last note, I think I'm going to start including page breaks in these after today, because it'll tidy up the blog quite a bit. So (unless it's a microblog) if my entry seems rather short, click the title/link and you can read the rest.
Oh also, David is amazing. Best not to ask.