Bill Nye, who has been brazenly wrong about human embryology and about climate science has now taken on the dreaded “anti-vaxxers” in a new video. He claims that if someone gets a communicable disease it’s likely to mutate into something that his vaccination won’t protect him from.
Nye is worried that the vaccines he took aren’t going to be effective against the disease they were designed to protect against. But what’s the point of a vaccine if it doesn’t protect against modern pathogens? It does no good to protect against something that only existed in the past (eg the smallpox vaccine, which isn’t on the CDC schedule today). You may consider this when you’re urged to get the annual flu shot which only protects against four strains of the virus and leaves a high risk of infection from other strains or when taking the pneumococcal vaccine, which has changed over the years to combat the evolving pathogen since the use of the old pneumococcal vaccine has been shown to increase the incidence of strains not covered in the vaccine.
His argument is similar to the idea of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria or viruses that mutate into something we don’t have drugs to heal. But Nye turns that argument on its head and claims that people who aren’t vaccinating are the problem. That the “anti-vaxxers” are the ones promoting vaccine-defeating viruses and bacteria. But that’s analogous to saying that the people not taking unnecessary antibiotics are the ones causing antibiotic-resistant strains of disease. It’s contrary to the science.
Nye’s rationale is completely backward. If he’s worried about vaccine-resistant pathogens, he needs to stop promoting vaccines in low-risk populations, not encouraging everyone to get all vaccines.