New research has shown that the number of vaccine-preventable diseases is on the rise worldwide.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Despite scientific advances, ground-breaking medical research, and more accessibility to vaccinations than ever before, entirely preventable diseases are actually rising.
Because anti-vaccination fear-mongering is stopping preventable diseases like polio and whooping cough from being eradicated from the face of the earth.
An interactive map designed by the Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations shows how influential misleading anti-vaccination rhetoric has been. This agenda of misinformation has shifted public perception in such a way that it is now one of the key obstacles to ending these potentially fatal diseases for good.
Take a look at the map below. The brown regions indicate new outbreaks of measles; green is whooping cough; orange is polio; purple is rubella and the red regions are the places in the world vaccine workers have been physically attacked.
It’s not just developing countries where new disease outbreaks are occurring. These preventable diseases are on the rise in wealthy Western nations like Australia and the US.
While people in developing countries are praying for vaccines for malaria, polio and tuberculosis, countries like Australia and the US are demonstrating our own breathtaking abuse of privilege.
In developing countries, people aren’t debating about scientifically disproved myths like ‘does vaccination cause autism’. They do not have time for ill-informed commentators refuting proven, confirmed scientific facts.
And yet, as the map above shows, Australians – with every advantage in the world – are abusing the luxury of ‘choice’ when it comes to vaccinating our kids.
In the past five years, three babies from New South Wales have died from whooping cough — all were unvaccinated. More than 1500 infants in NSW have been diagnosed this year with the potentially life-threatening disease, which can also lead to pneumonia and brain damage. Their frail little bodies are too young and have no reason to be exposed to whooping cough.
Vaccination is vastly different to choosing whether or not to feed your child gluten or co-sleep with them or dress them in t-shirts with dodgy slogans on the front. Those are personal parenting choices.
Let’s be clear: vaccination should never be considered a personal choice, it’s a social responsibility.
Because immunisation is something that effects everyone in our community and especially the vulnerable – those who can’t vaccinate because they are too young or too sick. It is, quite literally, a matter of life and death.
So as a community, we must have zero tolerance for misinformation about vaccinations.
The lives of children, newborns and other vulnerable people in our local and international community quite simply depend on vaccinations – not just their own, but everyone’s.
If you’re in any doubt, this is a good rule to remember:
Get your medical advice from doctors and scientists.
Not YouTube videos.
Not alternative health professionals.
And not Dr Google.
Because on the one hand there’s science and on the other hand …there is no other hand.
Zoom in and click through the interactive map below to see Every Single Vaccine Preventable Disease Outbreak recorded in Australia over the last 6 years. It shows the magnitude of risk that anti-vaccination campaigners are taking with the lives of the most vulnerable: