General Question

KNOWITALL's avatar

Do you think Anti-vaxxers have any culpability if their children get sick and die?

Asked by KNOWITALL (26161points) July 29th, 2019

I read a post by an anti-vaxxer friend that both her kids have strep and double ear infections. I know there is not a vax for strep, but the flu shares some of the same symptoms.

Do you think that she and the father could be legally held responsible if either child died due to not being vaccinated at any point in their lives until adulthood?

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29 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

They are just as culpable as parents who leave a loaded gun out on the table.

chyna's avatar

I totally agree with @ragingloli.

gorillapaws's avatar

Morally culpable? Yes. Legally culpable? I am not a lawyer.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gorillapaws Sorry, my wording was incorrect. Let me try again.

Do you believe that someday soon we as a country will vote hold them legally culpable, based on rising numbers of anti-vaxxers, measles, etc…?

Caravanfan's avatar

Anti-vaxxers are the worst human beings on Earth.
But I don’t have strong opinions on the matter or anything.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think negligent homicide is probably an appropriate charge. I’m not sure if the country has the “will power” to get there though. As we prioritize our public resources away from education, our nation seems to be getting much dumber…

jca2's avatar

I would think that the guilt would be enough. Like the guilt that parents have when their child falls out the window or drowns in a pool. I don’t see how those parents could live with themselves, knowing that their negligence caused their child’s death.

I know on the news, when parents leave their baby in a hot car and the baby dies, the parents are sometimes charged with a crime but I don’t know what it is.

Every charge has different criteria in each state. What the charge is for leaving your child in a hot car may be different in NY than it is in NJ, CA, FL, or where ever.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Caravanfan Okay, you and I have history on this subject and I’m not going to lie, when I saw her post today about the sickness, the first thought I had was ‘well sure, because they aren’t vaccinated’, but medically, ear infections and strep don’t have vaccines, so it wasn’t a fair comparison.

So with your knowledge in this area, how bad can it get? I mean they say measles, tuberculosis and other illnesses are making a comeback.

PS I truly believe she thinks she’s doing the right thing for her children, which is hard to counter argue with someone who is not a ‘fact’ or ‘logic’ kind of person.

rebbel's avatar

“Mommy? Why am I feeling so bad? Am I sick?
-Yes, dear, unfortunately you are. You are miserable now, just like your little sister, but it’ll pass.
Why am I sick then Mommy, I always close my jacket, and wash my hands…
-You have measles, sweety. Some children get that, most don’t.
But I did get it, why?
-Daddy and mommy didn’t give you an injection, that supposedly would stop you from getting it, but that’s all not true…, it’s all made up to brainwash you and you’ll get autism from it.
But mommy, I’m really very sick, I’m in pain….
-Shtttt, it’ll pass.
Were you sick from measles, mommy, when you were small?
-No, dear, I didn’t get it, daddy also didn’t.
Wow, you were both lucky he? Did you also not get the injection?
-Actually yes we did get it. Grandma believed the doctors and the people that had studied about it, so she fell for the lies, and let them give mommy and her brothers the injection.
But you didn’t get sick mommy….
-That must have been coincidence. But daddy and mommy didn’t get autism either.

kritiper's avatar

Only themselves and the virus’, germs, and/or bacteria that claimed the lives of the dead. Whether there were vaccines for any sickness or not, no attempt whatsoever was made in any way to help keep those victims alive and healthy.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Things like the major polio vaccine failure makes lots of people skittish about government backed or mandated medical cures or prevention.
Add to that the multitudinous doctors who are ignorant of their own profession and killing or maiming patients daily, a Nd it is easier to see their viewpoint.
Those parents are not cruel, and mostly not stupid. They are just afraid of something they know is met with differing opinions.

It might be more humane and less expensive to put together a specific class to address inoculations; the history, improvements, result statistics, and more for dissenters to better understand.
Then a law could be written up to be applied in the cases where parents completed the class and still decided against. Also, for those who refuse in writing to attend.

Caravanfan's avatar

@KNOWITALL Well to be fair, the ear infections and and strep are unrelated to being vaccinated, and as you know the flu vaccine is not 100% effective. That doesn’t make her decision not to vaccinate her kids against measles (which I assume she made) any less reprehensible.

ucme's avatar

Put it this way, their kids already had two pricks…their parents.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Caravan I cant have them over either because my moms immune system is shot. I guess i can try your Pink Floyd analogy and see if it works.

hmmmmmm's avatar

I’m of the (unpopular) opinion that while I vaccinate my kids and understand that it requires broad acceptance, I am hesitant to judge those who don’t vaccinate or are hesitant/choose an delayed schedule.

We have a for-profit healthcare system and I understand those that are not convinced that corporations have the best interest of their children as a motive. I also understand that many people don’t have healthcare at all, so going to the doctor – even for their children – isn’t something that is a right. It’s a commodity. And this is the source of much of the problem that I see. Disclaimer: I’m in MA, so much of the resistance I see is not religious. It’s usually highly educated people who push back due to the above reasons. Additionally, instantly labeling people as “anti-vaxxer” when they question something is quite counterproductive.

EDIT: Sorry, I didn’t answer question. This is a tough one. I’d like to say “yes” that the parents are culpable if their unvaccinated kids get sick and die. However, since we do not have universal healthcare, I think the blame lies on the government. My answer may change once we have M4A. My answer would definitely change if we were to decommodify the health industry altogether.

chyna's avatar

What is @Caravanfan‘s Pink Floyd analogy?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@chyna Every vaccinated person is a brick in the wall. Visualize. Every non vaccinated is a hole in that wall. Thats how diseases are coming back. He said it more eloquently.

I called it that as a joke, it helps me remember haha

Caravanfan's avatar

@chyna It was an old analogy I used years ago in my old iteration as Rarebear. @KNOWITALL and I have been fast friends since! :-)

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Caravan And I got my flu shot every year since!
I really wasnt sold on them until you pulled the ‘greater good’ argument on me. Hard for a patriot to resist.

cookieman's avatar

My wife was a State social worker for years. She removed kids from homes for negligence regularly for everything from drugs and weapons in the home to not sending your kid to school to keeping a dirty/disgusting house. So why not for failing to vaccinate and endanger your child? I don’t see much difference.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

@rebbel..that is the thing that slays me the most. These antivaxxer parents are, themselves, vaccinated. How they can live with themselves is beyond me.

JLeslie's avatar

I have mixed feelings about making parents legally culpable or guilty of neglect when it comes to vaccinations.

As far as strep and ear infections, I think probably a doctor or social services probably could pursue a court order to treat the child if they became aware of the situation. Strep can lead to rheumatic fever ir rheumatic heart, which are both quite serious. Not to mention the first time I had strep I stopped swallowing my salivé it was so painful, and became severely dehydrated. I don’t mean I was thirsty, I mean medically diagnosed dehydrated. Ear infections can be very painful for young children and can lead to hearing loss. So, with this line of thinking I guess maybe legally requiring vaccination could follow a similar logic.

The thing is, most children are vaccinated, so herd immunity helps protect the population even though there is a small segment of children not vaccinating, Obviously, if too many refuse the vaccinations then we will lose herd immunity. Diseases like hepatitis and tetanus herd immunity doesn’t apply. However, I can’t fathom not vaccinating a child for tetanus.

If legal ramifications were pursued, I would be completely against legal consequences for not getting a flu vaccine. Currently, there isn’t even enough flu vaccine made each year for the entire population.

raum's avatar

If a parent didn’t buckle their child’s seat belt and they died in a car accident, I’m pretty sure they would be charged with something.

Vaccinations are worse than seatbelts because at least with seatbelts, they are only endangering their own kids. Not vaccinating your kids endangers other people too. :/

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Yes. Thank you @raum. Good to have you back.

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ragingloli's avatar

There are a few exceptions, where children can not be vaccinated, due to allergies and whatnot, and doctors will tell you when that is the case.
But especially for those children, it is paramount that everyone else is vaccinated.

stacevo's avatar

They are 100% responsible. Anti-vaxxing qualifies as child abuse.

Caravanfan's avatar

@stacevo happy to give you your first GA. And welcome to Fluther.

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