Tonight on Frontline, “The Vaccine War” presents both sides of the controversy over whether young children should be vaccinated for diseases such as measles and polio, and in a rare display of TV-news common sense and independence, one side is shown to be — sorry — wrong. Frontline’s documentary will, I hope, leave any sensible viewer feeling that you’d have be deluded or selfish not to have your kids vaccinated.
Now I’m going to have to tune in just for the unbelievable spectacle of a television show taking a skeptical, science-based view of the issue. It’s broadcast at 8pm Central time on PBS — apparently, it will also be available online as well.
It wasn’t bad — a little dry, not quite as blunt as I’d have liked it to be, but I think it made a good case. They’d show the anti-vaxers making some claim, then they’d show how they were simply wrong. Too much time was given to the doofuses, but I think that had to be done in order to shoot them down.
The most effective bit, though, was the showing of the effects of diseases like whooping cough, which can be easily immunized against. If I were a young parent trying to make a decision about whether to immunize (because I was an ignorant git unaware of the science behind vaccines), a bunch of statistics from an epidemiological study might not be that persuasive…but a video of a baby girl gasping for air and near death because of a disease that I could prevent her from getting, I’d give her the shot. No argument.