Measles Outbreak: Childhood Diseases Are On The Rise!
Anti-vaxxers are to blame
Wondering what keeps TMVC up at night?
The measles outbreak in Washington state!
If this is the first you’ve heard of it, here are two important things you need to know:
1. More than 50 people, mainly children under age 10, are sick with measles which can cause deafness, brain inflammation, pneumonia and death.
2. The law in Washington state currently allows parents to opt out of state-wide school vaccination programs.
This last point can’t be emphasized enough
Protected and emboldened by lax vax laws, Washington state is a hot-spot for so-called “anti-vaxxers.”
Anti-vaxxers believe that vaccines don’t work or pose risks to themselves or their children, and as a result refuse to get vaccinated.
Clark County public health director, Dr. Alan Melnick, says this refusal is behind the current measles outbreak:
“If you have a population that is unvaccinated, it’s like throwing a match into a can of gasoline. Measles is exquisitely contagious and immunization rates here have been dropping.”
Just 78% of Washington residents are vaccinated against childhood diseases, far below the 95% level needed to protect the general public.
Outbreaks like the one in Washington state are becoming more and more common in developed countries where childhood diseases were once eradicated.
The World Health Organization cites a 30% worldwide increase in cases of measles alone.
The term “vaccine hesitancy” also refers to those who are complacent or who find the vaccination process time-consuming or inconvenient.
But it’s really code for anti-vaxxers.
WHO says better more targeted messaging is critical in order to dispel anti-vaxxing myths:
“Health workers, especially those in communities, remain the most trusted advisor and influencer of vaccination decisions, they must be supported to provide trusted, credible information on vaccines.”
Is Facebook the spiritual home of the anti-vax movement?
But it is a major hub for the distribution and dissemination of anti-vaccination propaganda.
Dozens of closed and/or secreted Fb groups with hundreds of thousands of members act as virtual forums where members share their often incorrect and undisputed ideas and opinions.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is among those calling on platforms like Facebook to do more to counter these online echo chambers.
“Facebook should prioritize dealing with the threat to human health when falsehoods and misinformation are shared. This isn’t just self-harm, it’s community harm.”
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Learn more about measles and measles vaccines here