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Measles outbreak in NYC. Anti-vaxxers, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

“Serious side effects of the vaccine are rare,” authorities say.

Let’s start a slow clap, shall we? A slow sarcastic clap for the anti-vaccination movement.

Because of their efforts to drum up unnecessary hysteria and unfounded fear of vaccinations, there has been a measles outbreak in New York City.

Authorities in New York City today announced the worrying news that a disease which was thought to have been eradicated in the US almost 15 years earlier, is back. They are urging locals to make sure their vaccinations against the infectious illness are up to date.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced on Friday that it has identified 16 cases of measles. Nine of those cases have been discovered in children but the age of those infected ranges from 3 months to 63 years.

Measles, which is spread through coughing and sneezing, is highly contagious: if one person has it, 90 per cent of that person’s close contacts are likely to become infected. And it is not (pardon the pun) a disease to be sneezed at. Measles can cause fever, rash, painful spots and flu-like symptoms. While most patients recover quickly, one in 1,000 cases results in a brain inflammation that can cause death.

Let’s pause and reflect on this for a moment. This disease kills people. This highly contagious and PREVENTABLE disease has caused countless deaths. Scientists worked hard for decades to find a vaccine that would prevent it and now? Some people in our community are scaring others into forgoing the vaccination for their children based on bogus science and downright fear-mongering.

What the actual f*ck.

Scarily, the anti-vaccination movement is not confined to the United States. Nor is their increasing power and influence. Here in Australia, there are now pockets of our community where vaccination rates among babies are lower than in many developing countries, where access to these life-saving vaccines is difficult. New parents are falling victim to a vicious scare campaign by anti-vaccination campaigners who claim (incorrectly) that vaccines can cause autism.

The NYC authorities are currently working to assure their constituents that vaccines for measles are very safe, and that “the benefits far outweigh any risks”. And right now in NYC, where people are at risk of catching measles at their local supermarket, those benefits are even greater than ever.
It is ridiculous that in 2014, with no feasible evidence to the contrary, myths that vaccines are dangerous are able to be peddled. The anti-vaccination movement must not be allowed to take a stronger hold here in Australia or anywhere in the world. The only way to fight hysteria is with facts, which you can find here.
We encourage you to read as much scientific information as you can about vaccines and spread the word in your own community that vaccines are not only safe, they safe lives. Because in this so-called ‘debate’, on the one hand there is science and on the other hand THERE IS NO OTHER HAND.

In Australia, measles vaccination is recommended as part of routine childhood immunisation. It is listed on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule and funded for children under the Immunise Australia Program. To receive measles immunisation, visit your local doctor or immunisation provider.