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Saturday, March 30, 2019

Rockland County Outbreak

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism.   This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing disease to spread.

CDC reports: "From January 1 to March 21, 2019, 314** individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 15 states. The states that have reported cases to CDC are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington."

At NYT, Sarah Maslin Nir and Michael Gold report on Rockland County, NY, which has many ultra-Orthodox Jews.:
On Tuesday, county officials took the extraordinary step of announcing a state of emergency, barring unvaccinated children under 18 from public places, including restaurants, shopping centers, houses of worship and schools.
An unfounded fear of vaccines has spread around the world in recent years, with childhood vaccination rates reportedly declining in several countries as a result. Nothing in the belief system of Orthodox Jews makes them any more likely to oppose vaccines, and several Orthodox rabbinical organizations have called on parents to vaccinate their children. But Hasidic Jews are prey to the same misinformation that has affected others, and some ultra-Orthodox rabbis have come out against vaccines.
The anti-vaccine movement is rooted in a belief that the inoculations are linked to autism, a claim that is not medically substantiated.

Fueling the misinformation is a network of information hotlines targeting the Jewish community and claiming to tell the “truth about vaccines,” according to a recording on one. While some people can research vaccines on websites like WebMD, many ultrareligious or Haredi Jews disallow using the internet fearing overexposure to the secular world.

So members of the community must rely on the chat lines to share information.
A group called Parents Educating and Advocating for Children’s Health, or Peach, has also released an anti-vaccination handbook directed at Hasidic Jews. Its authors are anonymous. “Many of us have suffered abuse from fellow community members for questioning the medical authorities,” reads an unsigned letter in the pamphlet purporting to be from its founder.