There were two reactions to my post about Natalie's entirely preventable death from SSPE that I had put up yesterday.
One that invariably came from pro-vaccine minded parents, which was "oh, how horrible, the poor child/parents" and sometimes included "can we go after those vaccine-refusing parents"
and one that invariably came from anti-vaccine minded parents, which was "oh, how horrible, how can you call our children potential murder weapons" and sometimes included "you must be paid to post this" pharmashill accusations.
So here are some clarifications:
I don't know much about the parents who took their unvaccinated 11 year old to that pediatrician's practice. I can say with some conviction that neither Andrew Wakefield nor Jenny McCarthy had anything to do with their decision, since this happened in Germany in 1999 and their son was 11 then, so their anti-vaccine decision must have happened 10 years earlier, when neither Wakefield nor McCarthy were a topic (and they never really became one in Germany anyway). We don't know what made them not vaccinate. I am pretty sure they did not intend this to happen.
There is no provision to sue these parents in German law. The new Infektionenschutzgesetz was passed after this all got started and it only regulates intentional transmission of reportable infectious diseases. I think it would be very difficult to prove intent here. Also, I don't know about Natalie's parents, but Micha's family are devout Christians. While they are obviously sad and burdened, they do not seek punishment for that other family.
I posted a link to this blog on Mumsnet and that caused quite an upheaval amongst non-vaccinating parents. There was a lot of profanity (seemingly caused by the -wrong- assumption that I was addressing people directly, while being fully aware of the children's medical histories), but I am accepting this:
A lot of non-vaccinating parents made their decision after careful thought and deliberation with their health professional. They are aware of the risks of their non-vaccine decision and they are not necessarily comfortable with those risks. However, for them, the risks of not vaccinating outweighs the risks of vaccinating their children. To be told that they are turning their kids into potential murder weapons and to scare them with what is certainly a) a very unlikely and b) the most catastrophic outcome of a family not vaccinating deals them an unfair blow and it is not really helpful. This was not my intention and I have apologised to one mum there and hereby do to any parent in the above situation here.
That said: if you are thinking about not vaccinating your child and you are currently weighing the pros and cons: have a look at my previous blog and previous post on this situation and weigh this into your decision.