Why are people choosing not to vaccinate their kids? There is no definitive answer to this, but in today’s post-truth world, where misinformation and distrust of politicians and the media runs high, perhaps this is one area where people can feel that their personal choices matter. Opting out of vaccines may feel to some like a way of reasserting control over their family and their health, perhaps they find it easier to trust a misguided friend on social media than some distant politician who may or may not be on the payroll of ‘big pharma.’
No matter where you sit on this particular debate, the memes we’ve collected below will give you a guilty chuckle. Dark, clever and merciless, they make their point loud and clear. But will they change anyone’s minds? Only time will tell.
The measles virus could, in theory, be killed off completely if we got our act together. Because humans are the only carriers of the virus and we have an effective vaccine, if we manage to vaccinate enough people, particularly in the developing world, the disease could soon be eradicated.
However, as we know, the anti-vax movement is proving to be a sticking point, one that is threatening to derail the progress made in developed countries.
In the U.S. for example, the vaccination rates for MMR are high, with 91% of children getting the shot. That’s almost enough for herd immunity, meaning that the virus finds it nearly impossible to find enough people to infect, and serves as a protection for those who can’t be immunized.
But there are increasing ‘hotspots,’ areas where people are choosing to ‘opt out’ of vaccines for their children, and these areas are vulnerable to outbreaks. The recent outbreak in the Oregon/Washington State area is an example of this.
It’s not only the U.S. where people are skipping readily-available vaccines; there were over 40,000 cases in Europe in 2018, a record in the vaccine era.
The MMR vaccine covers 3 diseases: Measles, Mumps and Rubella. Children are recommended to take 2 doses of the vaccine, first between 12 and 15 months, and second between 4 and 6 years. Parents are often most concerned about the first dose, when their child is very young and supposedly more at risk of complications from the vaccine. It has been proven to be very safe however, a live but very weak version of the virus is given to stimulate antibodies, which then will protect the child in the future. Mild rashes and fevers can occur as side effects of the vaccine, but more severe reactions are so rare as to be virtually non-existent. The benefits of prevention massively outweigh the minuscule risks.
The scary thing about measles is that it’s so easy to transmit. As an airborne virus, it can be passed along through tiny droplets from the nose and mouth, and can survive for up to two hours on surfaces that have been coughed and sneezed upon. Because the symptoms don’t appear for up to four days, a person can unknowingly walk around infecting people before they even know they have the virus. One person can quite easily transmit measles to up to 20 people before getting symptoms, which means that an un-immunized population faces a huge risk if an outbreak occurs. This is why it’s so important to get vaccinated! Measles was officially eliminated in the U.S. but has been allowed to make a comeback, mainly due to lax laws and the rise of the anti-vax movement. Have fun browsing these memes but remember, this is a serious issue so do your research.
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