Thanks to the anti-vaxxer movement, preventable diseases like measles and the mumps have returned — and scientists, increasingly, are coming out swinging against the anti-science movement.
The problem has gotten so bad that FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb recently warned that people willfully-refusing to be vaccinated could cause an epidemic-level outbreak and the World Health Organization declared anti-vaxxers are one of the biggest ongoing threats to global health.
That's why two scientists penned an op-ed in Scientific American in which they argue that people who could be vaccinated but refuse to do so are just as dangerous to the people around them as drunk drivers.
"Both are selfishly, recklessly and knowingly putting the lives of everyone they encounter at risk," wrote astrophysicist Ethan Siegel and microbiologist Alex Berezow, who is also the VP of scientific affairs at the American Council on Science and Health. "Their behavior endangers the health, safety and livelihood of the innocent bystanders who happen to have the misfortune of being in their path."
The two authors don't pull their punches. They argue that those who choose to endanger the people around them by not getting vaccinated should feel free to do so — just so long as they're also totally removed from society.
"Is that too harsh? We don’t think so," the authors write. "If a person wants to blast their music loudly, shoot guns aimlessly, and drink and drive, they should be allowed to do exactly as they please: so long as it’s on their own property, sufficiently isolated from everyone else. Similarly, if you don’t want to be vaccinated, perhaps that should be allowed too, so long as you agree to permanently live out in the middle of nowhere."
READ MORE: Opting Out of Vaccines Should Opt You Out of American Society [Scientific American]
More on vaccines: FDA Head: Anti-Vaxxers Could Soon Cause an Epidemic