The anti-vax movement is something that lives in the Facebook feeds of my least intelligent high-school friends; it’s not something I see in real life. I don’t find myself knowingly interacting with the unvaccinated, until today that is. As I was walking into our state Capitol in Olympia this morning, I saw a procession of people waving signs painted with Jenny McCarthy talking points.
I suddenly had the urge to stay as far back as possible. I was face-to-face with the unvaccinated.
These anti-vaccine people were in Olympia to rally against House Bill 1638, which would require parents to vaccinate their children if they want them to attend daycare or public or private school. Currently, parents can get their kids out of this by claiming a religious or philosophical objection to vaccines. This bill would end that exemption. The bill passed the state house last month and is now waiting to be voted on by the full senate, which could happen as early as today.
This legislation is sponsored by a Republican that experienced a measles outbreak in his county, and Katie Herzog has a solid post about the bill. Read her analysis over here.
Meanwhile, am I about to get measles if I hang out with these protesters any longer? The New York Times says I am not in immediate danger. They say the risks caused by unvaccinated people depend on "what infectious diseases are circulating in your community." Since I don't think there's an active measles outbreak in the state Capitol right now, I guess I am okay. For now at least.