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The vaccination deniers

Ashland is a highly educated community with a long and admirable record of being progressive. That makes its occasional anti-science approach to issues all the more puzzling — and sometimes infuriating, as in the case of the community's low vaccination rates, which put children at risk.

Jackson County health officials have issued a warning that incidents of chicken pox and pertussis (whooping cough) are on the rise in the county, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates. Ashland leads the list in that category, hardly something you'd want to put on a banner at the the entrance to town: "Welcome to Ashland. We don't vaccinate our kids."

The numbers are stark: In Medford, 95 percent of school children are vaccinated; in Eagle Point nearly 98 percent. Ashland's most recent numbers: 70 percent.

There is an Ashland number that leads the county: 20, the number of chicken pox cases among students. There are also two reported cases of pertussis in Ashland.

There is massive scientific evidence that global warming is occurring and yet the deniers persist in pointing to the few scientists who agree with them. How is this localized push against immunizations any different? Overwhelming numbers of doctors and scientists say immunizations have saved countless lives and helped lift the world to a more civilized state. And yet the deniers accuse the medical community of "poisoning" kids with vaccines.

A progressive community takes care of everyone, by doing what's best for everyone, especially its children. For too many people, that model is being ignored.