Parents who won’t vaccinate their kids should pay higher insurance premiums

Writing on CNN, pediatrician Rahul K. Parikh suggests that parents who allow the irresponsible lies of publicity-mongers like Jenny McCarthy to scare them into not vaccinating their kids should have to pay higher insurance premiums.

I think this sounds like a good start, but I’d go further: I think that kids should have to show a certificate of vaccination to use public schools — because vaccinations don’t confer resistance on all people, we have to rely on “herd immunity” (that is, a preponderance of people taking vaccination) to keep all of us safe. Here in Hackney, London, we’ve got live measles, whooping cough and other terrible, preventable childhood diseases in the field, thanks to this kind of fearmongering. For those of us with kids who are too young to be vaccinated, it means that other parents’ uninformed fear create a health risk for our families.

Refusing to vaccinate a child is dangerous not just for that child but for entire communities. It’s precisely this point a colleague of mine was considering when he had the idea that parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids should pay substantially higher health insurance premiums.

It makes sense. Insurance, after all, is just a pool of money into which we all pay. In determining how much we or our employers pay, risk is taken into account.

The perfect analogy is smoking. If you smoke — and want to turn your lungs black and spend a greater portion of that pot of money on your possible chronic lung disease or any cancers you’ll get — then you may have to pay more.

Make anti-vaccine parents pay higher premiums (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

(Image: Measles and Scarlet Fever, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from perpetualplum’s photostream)

Melissa Forman and Andy Council at Corey Helford Gallery in LA, 11/13/2010

Melissa-Forman-04 Andy-Council-1

Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City is presenting Melissa Forman’s first solo exhibition, with work by Andy Council in the loft of the gallery. Looks like a cool show! (Melissa’s work is on the left, and Andy’s work is on the right.)

On opening night, Saturday, Novmber 13: “Gourmet treats will be provided by the Border Grill mobile feast, our traditional free drinks and snacks in the CHG party tent, music by DJ Lynk, and — a FREE set of four exclusive 5X7 mini-giclee prints of Forman’s works to each of the first 300 guests. These prints will be of the same quality as larger prints, suitable for framing, and never again available in this format, so arrive early!”

Corey Helford Gallery

More images after the jump.

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