In a study done a year ago -- before Andrew Wakefield was found to be unethical, dishonest, and irresponsible, and his paper which started this whole thing withdrawn from the Lancet -- it was found that one in four parents thought autism was related to vaccines. However, the study also found that of these, many felt that vaccines were still important in protecting children from disease.
While that number is high, that added part about protection is very heartening. If we can show those parents the reality that vaccines have nothing to do with autism, then maybe we'll see the number of children suffering, and even dying, from preventable diseases drop.
After all, we can prevent measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, HiB, and many other illnesses. But the thing is, we can also prevent ignorance. We just have to shine a light on it.
There are many who will try to extinguish that light. But we have to make sure we hold that light steady and true. It can be tiring, since the antivaxxers are loud and seemingly relentless in their zealous crusade. But we have a huge advantage on our side: we're right. Reality will always win out, and we just have to make sure that it does so quickly, before more children lose their lives.
Tip o' the syringe to BABloggee Randyt.