One of America's essential national defense shields is under attack from within, and the aggressors are people you wouldn't normally consider dangerous: parents of young children. As more and more resist having their school-age kids vaccinated, they are destroying the herd immunity that everyone relies on for protection against whooping cough, measles and other dangerous, sometimes fatal, infectious diseases.
The dangers of vaccines have been thoroughly debunked. A report published this week in the journal Pediatrics, however, shows how hard it is to convince anti-vaccination parents of this. In fact, the harder researchers pushed the benefits of vaccines, the more the parents resisted. Political scientist Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth College, one of the study's authors, notes that policy measures might be more effective than public communication at improving vaccine rates.