Welcome, Andrea Tantaros! The conservative radio host is in town to present the Leadership Program of the Rockies' lunch keynote tomorrow, entitled "America, Let's Play Pretend: How the Left is Leading the Country Toward the Land of Make-Believe."
Andrea's been practicing for her big speech by pretending that unvaccinated immigrants from Mexico and Latin America are responsible for recent outbreaks of pertussis (aka whooping cough) in the United States. On her 2/21 radio broadcast, Tantaros agrees with a caller who blames immigrants for "over 1000 cases" of whooping cough in the caller's allegedly previously pertussis-free county. (Fast forward to about 1:34:30 to hear the relevant segment.)
All those undocumented immigrants probably couldn't afford to be vaccinated, and are bringing germs into the country, getting responsible Americans sick and bringing back previously eradicated diseases. Makes perfect sense, if you're already a person who considers immigrants a gross, unwanted underclass.
The problem is, it's, yes… make-believe. There's literally no scientific evidence for this theory. As it turns out, it's mostly our own fault, grownups who were immunized, but whose immunity has worn off over the years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
It is often suggested that pertussis outbreaks can be attributed to people "importing" the disease when they come to the U.S. from other countries, but this is not the case. Prior to vaccination, there were upwards of 200,000 cases and 9,000 deaths from pertussis every year in the U.S. alone. While we have greatly reduced the burden of pertussis through vaccination, it was never eliminated. It is always present in our communities. Further, reduction in the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases, including pertussis, is one of the great successes of public health. Every country vaccinates children against pertussis, and in the Americas, every country has achieved pertussis vaccine coverage of 78 percent or higher. While all people should be vaccinated on time according to the recommended schedule, under-vaccination is not the cause of the current outbreaks…. we usually find that most pertussis occurs among vaccinated people. This does not mean that the vaccine doesn't work, it just means that most people are vaccinated but protection wears off.
And Mexican immigrants are likely more immune than people immunized as Americans:
Mexico does a great job vaccinating for pertussis. Until just a few years ago, Mexico was using the whole-cell vaccine, which is probably more effective than the acellular vaccine that has been used in the U.S. since the 1990s.
Wow, that makes it kind of hard to blame Mexicans for whooping cough, doesn't it? What a shame for the people who like to–wait for it–play make-believe that the old "Dirty Mexican" stereotype is actually just a sensible, prudent reaction to germy immigrants.
But please, Ms. Tantaros, tell us more about how the left is leading the country toward the land of make-believe. Just give us a second, first. We need to use our hand sanitizer and pop some Airborne before you start talking. As a vaccinated American adult, you're a whole lot more likely to give us a pertussis infection than are most immigrants, and with a disease like whooping cough, you just can't be too careful.