Humans are … well, strange. A fixed problem can become unfixed.

First, let’s take it on good authority this problem really has been fixed.

It has been fixed with vaccination.

Nobody wants problems. So why? Why is the number of measles cases suddenly rising?

People seem to propelled by beliefs.

They are the hardest thing in the world to change.

Nobody will go for a spontaneous “makeover.”

Few people understand the danger of anything well enough to make marketing prevention easy, but let’s start with this single outstanding example.

The problem starts abroad. People in several countries do not vaccinate. So they have epidemics of diseases we do not particularly want. Like measles.

People go there and pick up the illness and bring it back.

There has been an epidemic of measles in the Philippines. My guess is that they are not a country known for great intrinsic wealth. I mean, they are not oil-rich or anything like that.

I definitely know they can be extraordinarily talented doctors and nurses, because I have worked with several people of such origin after they made it stateside.

I suspect, then, as probably with many countries, that price is a factor in vaccination policies.

We already have cheaper and safer ways to get vaccines out there.

This problem has the tools, I think to be Totally Solved. Vaccination works the overwhelming majority of the time and should be used to better the human condition.

The problem seems to me to be one of communication — getting the right folks together to fix the world. But wait, there’s more.

Apparently some Amish went to the Philippines and brought the illness back to the United States, where it proceeded to spread among unvaccinated Amish.

I love Amish. In Wichita Kansas, where I trained in psychiatry, we had a sect known as “old order Mennonites.” They would wear clothes without buttons – because adornments were a show of pride — and tie up their horse-and-buggy rigs at the traffic lights in the K-Mart Parking lot. Most of the folks I got to know personally were “New Order,” wearing modern street clothes.

I supervised some as medical students or residents and they worked hard. They were kind to all, had wonderful food in their restaurants, and sent a young woman to medical school who was pledged to serve her (underserved) community.

(She actually wore the traditional long skirt and a little starched bonnet as her everyday schoolwear.) I certainly applaud the missionary zeal of this community, who desire to extend themselves in a humanitarian outreach to the Philippines.

“Keep your routine health immunizations up to date???”

It is easy to say where a problem comes from after it has happened. It takes some actual thought to prevent problems.

Some American public health official must have known that measles was a problem in the Philippines. If that is the case, people who have declined such a safe vaccine as the one for measles should simply not be allowed to go to the Philippines.

We sure need humanitarian help in a lot of places in the world, including the U.S.

To my utter and complete amazement, of all of the media outlets that have covered this measles story, nobody has suggested this.

But wait, there’s more. Why on earth would anybody refuse a vaccination with few possible side effects and a lot of possible benefit?

Religious and philosophical exemptions from vaccination are available in most of the United States. Here is a “model” letter of religious exemption.

I have trouble with it starting with “God gave us his perfect immune system,” and continuing with quotes of healing from the Old Testament.

Whatever we think of the Creator, if we believe one exists, we agree he is not stupid.

He did not reveal in Biblical times things that nobody would have understood.

Because things like the effectiveness of vaccination were not revealed then does not mean they are NOT real and true.

Besides, we will never know if God’s immune system, which may have been “perfect” in Biblical times would be effective in, for example modern Southern California.

Some protesters also seem to have a problem with “mixing” things of animal origin with humans.

But if these people eat anything of animal origin, at least elements of such would make it into their blood.

It sounds as if a lot of people feel we have to keep this option open because we were founded as the nation of “freedom of religion.”


That was long before we became a Christian theocracy.

Ask any Jew.

Frankly, it sounds to me as if people are projecting their own fear of injections and of pain, and simply do not want their kids to get shots.

These people may not understand or care about preventive medicine.

Perhaps they would believe it more from Dr Gregory House – not a real doctor, but one who had a TV show and therefore is probably more impressive than their personal doctors.

(Season 1, Episode 2)

Dr. Gregory House: No fever, glands normal. Missing her vaccination dates.
Mother: We’re not vaccinating.
Dr. Gregory House: Think they don’t work?
Mother: I think some multinational pharmaceutical company wants me to think they work. Pad their bottom line.
Dr. Gregory House: Mmmm. May I? (Gesturing to toy plush frog)
Mother: Sure.
Dr. Gregory House: (Picks up toy frog) Gribbit, gribbit, gribbit.
Dr. Gregory House: All natural, no dyes. That’s a good business – all-natural children’s toys. Those toy companies, they don’t arbitrarily mark up their frogs. They don’t lie about how much they spend in research and development. The worst a toy company can be accused of is making a really boring frog. Gribbit, gribbit, gribbit. You know another really good business? Teeny tiny baby coffins. You can get them in frog green or fire engine red. Really. The antibodies in yummy mummy only protect the kid for six months, which is why these companies think they can gouge you. They think that you’ll spend whatever they ask to keep your kid alive. Want to change things? Prove them wrong. A few hundred parents like you decide they’d rather let their kid die then cough up 40 bucks for a vaccination, believe me, prices will drop *really* fast. Gribbit, gribbit, gribbit, gribbit, gribbit.
Mother: Tell me what she has.
Dr. Gregory House: A cold.

Contagious illness spreads — measles particularly quickly and easily.

Making what seems like a decision for one child may be a decision for the nation and the globe.

Diphtheria, whooping cough, and rubella used to kill thousands of kids a year and now they don’t. The scientific arguments against inoculations are thin at best.

Some people argue against them historically, although a child’s immune system is able to withstanding some things.

But this is simply not the same world it once was, with crowding and contagion and world travel and such. Perhaps we need to develop better methods.

We will — cheaper and more effective ways of using the knowledge we have already exists. I cannot explain exactly why they have not been implemented.

Advancement often means lower cost — which seems to keep someone (some companies) from making money.

This is where we have to focus on changing our system.

If anybody is rational enough to care about learning how vaccines actually work, here is a good synopsis.

There are lots of people trying to end the religious and philosophical exemptions.

The U.K. has a great pro-vaccination page.

Here is a great American scientific position statement. Failing to vaccinate a child can diminish the child’s quality of life by promoting illness, or even kill the child.

A child is innocent, and not yet capable of “religious” or “philosophical” convictions.

When you understand what is going on, it is absolutely the correct thing to do.

Author's Bio: 

Estelle Toby Goldstein, MD is a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice in San Diego, CA.

Practicing Medicine Since 1981

In her medical career, she has studied in Europe and Canada as well as the USA. She has attended specialty training beyond medical school in the fields of general surgery, neurology and neurosurgery and psychiatry (specializing in psychopharmacology).

Experienced In Many Situations

She has worked in a variety of positions, including:

Medical school professor
General and Orthopedic surgeon
Brain surgeon
Army Medical Corps psychiatrist
Prison psychiatrist
Community Mental Health Center staff
Consultant to a major transplant hospital
Drug researcher
“Whatever It Takes!”

She currently has her own indepenent clinic in San Diego where she is concentrating on what she calls Mind/Body medicine — or Integrative Medicine. Her practice is cash-only, doesn’t accept insurance or government payments, and she operates on the concierge, or “private doctor” practice model to give her patients the absolute best quality of care and the highest level of confidentiality.

Dr. Goldstein’s philosophy is “Whatever It Takes!” Her goal is to do everything possible to solve whatever problem she is presented. This includes seeing patients as quickly as possible — not making them wait weeks for an appointment. This includes making appointments days, nights, weekends or holidays. This includes making house-calls. And it includes using the best, most innovative treatments available — most of which are unknown to standard, mainstream doctors.

Her focus is on transitioning patients away from prescription drugs and onto natural substances. She is also a master practitioner of Emotional Freedom Technique, a powerful and dynamic form of energy psychology that usually brings quicker results than traditional psychotherapy.