Science - September 21, 2018

Higher education

Guido Camps

The theme of the falling vaccination rate has been simmering in the Dutch media all summer. And the blame is laid at the feet of those with higher education: ‘The modern “anti-vaccinator” enjoyed higher education, is well-read and self-confident,’ announced the Volkskrant newspaper in August.

Now I am a vet myself, so vaccinations may have slightly different connotations for me than for other people. But I also have two children, and they were called up for all the vaccinations. I’ve lost count on the number of times I’ve sat with a daughter on my lap at the infant health clinic: waiting, listening to the cries of children before us, seeing the plasters on their fat little thighs... There are nicer things in life.

And yet I go along with total conviction. If you make the slightest effort to look through the scientific research, there is only one logical conclusion you can come to: we all benefit from a high rate of vaccination, and your child benefits from the protection it affords. So as the parent of a healthy child, you should just go along for those jabs. No, it’s not nice for your dear little baby, and yes, there are always minuscule risks in life and therefore also for vaccinations. But weighing that up against the positive consequences is exactly what you should be capable of, with your highly educated brain.

Of course people with higher education are critical about vaccinations, but just take the trouble to use your critical mind to do a literature study. Perhaps in the way they taught you in the first year of your ‘higher education’ course. So please, Volkskrant, be a bit more precise next time: ‘The modern “anti-vaccinator” is well-read on the internet, self-confident and in possession of a diploma, but doesn’t bother much with the Evidence Pyramid, literature studies and science.’

Guido Camps (34) is a vet and a postdoc at the Human Nutrition department. He enjoys baking, beekeeping and unusual animals.