Czech Vaccination Debate Rages, State Restrictions Stabilize Around Half the State Population
Opponents Warn Countries Like Germany Could Become the Next Germany
There is a storm of protest about vaccines all over the world today, with estimated 150,000 anti-vaccination protesters staging rallies in Ukraine, Tunisia, Russia, Mexico, China, Italy, and other countries. These protests are now part of a global network of safety-conscious, anti-vaccination movements that have been spreading since the announcement of the tragic death of a Canadian baby and the 20 years of research that have linked vaccines to autism. And if you believe they are all just some demented conspiracy theory, you should wait to see what happens when they start targeting your country, like we did here in the Czech Republic, because this is only the beginning.
It is becoming clear to scientists around the world that anti-vaccination groups are poised to affect change in many ways, including this week in the Czech Republic. A new law took effect this month requiring all parents to vaccinate children under five. Also, across the country, parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are being required to do so by school principals and a series of state and municipal offices and institutions. Many are drawing attention to the new laws by demonstrating at their workplaces and schools, demanding free or discounted childcare for themselves and their children. Many parents are turning the tables on the government with anti-vaccination commercials and billboards, asserting that the dangers of vaccines should be shown to the public as it is the parents who have the greatest knowledge and best judgment on whether or not to vaccinate their children.
The problem with this argument is that the government already has this information in this new law and in this country it is already a blatant lie to say that vaccines are a known health risk to children. Quite the opposite; according to the best scientific research and data, vaccines have actually proved to be one of the most effective tools in world history to prevent diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, and whooping cough. And it is children who not only suffer from vaccine preventable diseases but from infectious disease (and not to mention other complications of not getting vaccinated) as well.
But with the inclusion of the law requiring vaccines, what all these people are seeking is to steer their children away from the vaccine schedule and away from over 90 percent of the vaccines we take for granted on a regular basis in the form of chicken pox, measles, polio, hepatitis B, etc., saying they will be careful, but shouldn’t they just just choose to be careful of having a child out in society?
This is exactly the tactic used in other countries around the world. Back in Germany (where I grew up) and parts of South America, a movement is called the “anti-vaccination movement” and the U.S. joined in in 2011. In Pakistan, the largest section of society — the Taliban — are refusing to give any vaccinations to children.
The threat here in the Czech Republic is real. A while back, my wife and I were told by the local district office that vaccinators (about 300 each week) were not to come to our house to begin by giving vaccinations to our second-born baby. The reason is the speech we used to tell her when she was getting her first vaccination. We told her this was the best method of protection from getting those terrible diseases that so often stricken children in the old Soviet Union and elsewhere in the world back in the 80s and 90s. The people who decided to have our second-born given vaccines at that time said we were too liberal. I mean that was a different time and place. Clearly I was not right.
Did we really need a district government to tell us not to be overly liberal, to stick to a certain action? I mean, if government groups should weigh in on whether or not they give drugs to children, why should they not also weigh in when it comes to vaccination?
Some of the anti-vaccination groups now say this is all just a matter of making sure the immunization goes down as quickly as possible, but in the long term there are many long-term consequences. In some cases, the movement as a whole is causing the spread of diseases that are unlikely to ever go away. These groups no longer care about the best scientific evidence available, but they want to free their children from diseases that cause death and disability. It would be much better for our babies to go back to living a life free of those diseases.