Anti-Vaccine Haven Digs In As Measles Outbreak Hands Science Crusaders An Edge


VASHON ISLAND, Wash. — Since arriving from Puerto Rico a year ago, Pedro Alvarez says he has learned a lot about healthy living from other people on this island — a small, crunchy community a short ferry ride from Seattle. He’s embraced kale and root vegetables, for example.

“Vashon is more aware. There are a bunch of really informed people here,” said Alvarez, 25, who wore a Karl Marx T-shirt, round-rimmed glasses and trimmed beard as he blended fresh fruits and vegetables behind the bar at the popular Pure Organic Cafe, where he works. He was careful to note these were his personal opinions.

Recently, a neighbor wearing a T-shirt espousing anti-vaccine views caused Alvarez and his girlfriend, who are expecting their first child this month, to question the safety of vaccines. They plan, for the moment, not to immunize their child against communicable diseases like polio, whooping cough and measles.

Vashon Island, wedged into the southern tip of Puget Sound, is a bastion of homesteading and do-it-yourself ethos, and perhaps most famous as home to a stronghold of vaccine skeptics. In 2002, a New York Times reporter visited the “counterculture haven” to cover a rising anti-vaccine sentiment. The —> Read More Here


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