This week a New York law preventing unvaccinated children from attending public school went into effect.
According to Buzzfeed, 26,217 unvaccinated students were denied entrance to school and their anti-vaxxer parents were furious and claimed that they were victims of religious discrimination.
Many took to social media to share pictures of their crying children as well as memes accusing the New York governor of being a communist. But by far the worst posts were those comparing their children to Anne Frank, who they say was denied education for religious reasons “just like their kids.”
Let me be very clear: to compare unvaccinated children to children of the Holocaust, to even put them in the same sentence is reprehensible. Victims of the Holocaust were tortured, starved, worked to death, medically tested on, gassed, and separated from their families. There is no comparison. Period.
On top of that, there is nothing “religious” about denying your children proper healthcare. And the state isn’t the one preventing these children from going to school, the parents are.
This is, sadly, not the first time that anti-vaxxers have used the Holocaust in their arguments of “discrimination.” Back in April of this year, anti-vaxxers pinned yellow stars of David (similar to those the Nazis forced Jews to wear leading up to the Holocaust) with the words “anti-vax” in Hebrew-stylized letters on them.
The CEO of the Anti-Defamation League responded strongly and told The Washington Post,
“It is simply wrong to compare the plight of Jews during the Holocaust to that of anti-vaxxers. Groups advancing a political or social agenda should be able to assert their ideas without trivializing the memory of the six million Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust.”
In addition to claiming religious discrimination, parents are saying that their “perfectly healthy” children are being denied entrance to school without cause. But like most of their arguments, this one makes little sense.
In case anyone is confused about how and why vaccines work, here’s a quick refresher from your freshman biology class. There’s a little thing called “herd immunity” which means that communities will become immune to certain diseases if enough people are vaccinated. But it only works if kids get the vaccine! By not vaccinating your kid, you are not only putting their safety at risk but every other child’s safety at risk, thus the reason for the law.
So while your child may be “healthy” right now, that’s only because your friends and neighbors are vaccinating their own children, thus protecting yours.
New York’s new law was inspired by this past summer’s widespread measles outbreak, which was a direct result of a lack of vaccinations, particularly in Hasidic Jewish communities. It was NYC’s largest measles outbreak in 30 years and lead to more than 600 confirmed diagnoses.
To learn more about vaccinating your children, head to the CDC here.
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