Special Education Opinion

Private Practice, Public Health, and the Autism/Vaccine Debate

By Eduwonkette — January 09, 2009 1 min read
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“Private Practice” - the “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff starring Kate Walsh - may be one of the most poorly written, bad excuse for soft porn shows on TV. But big props to the show for last night’s episode/public service announcement, which has already ignited a firestorm on the autism blogs.

The episode featured a mother with three sons, and the oldest was autistic. Blaming the MMR vaccine for her child’s autism, she chose not to vaccinate her two other sons. An unvaccinated son picks up measles while the family is in Switzerland seeking autism treatment, exposes the entire practice when he comes in, and dies at the end of the episode.

Think this is implausible? Check out this graph of the growth of measles cases in the UK over the last 12 years, courtesy of the BBC:

And it’s not just the UK. During the first seven months of 2008, 131 measles cases were reported to CDC, compared with an average of 63 cases per year during 2000--2007. (On a more local level, in the first four months of 2008, there were 22 measles cases in NYC.)

Parents have the right to make choices for their children, but they don’t have an inalienable right to expose other people’s children to deadly diseases. And if it takes a bunch of hot faux doctors to get that message out, so be it.

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