A recent article in the New York Times indicates that the anti-vaccinators are taking advantage of the H1N1 epidemic to sow fear of vaccination in the population. With 292 deaths so far this year from the H1N1 virus (32% children) you would think parents would take no chances. In contrast consider the number of deaths deaths from the vaccine itself:0.
The risk of serious side effects from the vaccine is virtually non-existent, whereas it is certain that many people that are not vaccinated will die.
Why the protest then? Certainly there are many who simply do not have good information and feed their fears with internet rumors. Sadly, though, the article suggests a for profit motive. “Vitamin vendors — who in some cases operate blogs, with postings by people who claim to be doctors finding fault with vaccines — are reporting an increase in sales related to swine flu.”
And when it comes to denying scientific evidence, it is not only vaccines.
Take pesticide related poisonings for example. Each year the World Health Organization estimates that 3 million people will suffer pesticide poisoning, resulting in over 200,000 deaths.
In Arizona, the use of genetically engineered cotton carrying BT has cut farmers use of pesticides in half. Bt crops also have clear benefits in enhancing insect biodiversity.
The number of people harmed by GE crops over since planting began over 10 years ago? 0.
We need a better way to educate the public about the risks and benefits of scientific technology.