Los Angeles Times, Washington Post Editorials Discuss Measles Outbreak In Samoa, Importance Of Vaccination

Los Angeles Times: Editorial: Measles outbreak in Samoa shows what can happen when vaccine opponents prevail
Editorial Board

“In July 2018, two young children died shortly after being injected with a contaminated measles-mumps-rubella vaccine in a clinic in Samoa. A nurse, it turned out, had mixed the vaccine powder with expired muscle relaxant instead of water. … [A]nti-vaccination activists seized upon this sad story to push their false narrative that immunizations are more harmful to children than the diseases they are designed to protect against. … Vaccination rates in the Pacific island nation plummeted to just 31%, far below the 95% immunization rate that public health officials say is necessary to prevent a disease from spreading through a community. … An estimated 2% of the population [in Samoa] has been infected, killing 63 people as of Friday afternoon … This is a stark and sad illustration of what can happen when the agents of fear and misinformation (Robert F. Kennedy Jr., we are looking at you) convince caring parents to shun childhood vaccinations. Too often the fact that measles and other preventable infectious diseases are extremely effective killers gets lost in the debates focusing on parental rights and the mostly unfounded fears about ‘vaccine injuries’…” (12/7).

Washington Post: The measles outbreak in Samoa must be a lesson for the rest of the world
Editorial Board

“The tragedy now unfolding in the Pacific island state of Samoa is a case study of how wrongheaded information about vaccines can lead to injury and death. … [I]t has suffered a major outbreak of measles that has led to 68 deaths, most of them children. It could and should have been prevented, and must be taken as a lesson for the rest of the world. … The Post reports that anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s advocacy group, Children’s Health Defense, made several Facebook posts in July and August 2018 that questioned the safety of the vaccines the infants received. The charity did not update the posts to explain the nurses’ error to its audience. A recent study showed that 54 percent of the advertisements spreading false information about vaccines on Facebook were bought by two groups, one of them Mr. Kennedy’s. Mr. Kennedy on Nov. 19 wrote to the Samoan prime minister again raising a question about the safety of the vaccines, and has visited Samoa. … What is dangerous, as the Samoa crisis demonstrates, is to spread false information that leaves a community seriously vulnerable. The World Health Organization reports another major surge in measles around the globe over the past year. Bad information that leads people to hesitate about vaccines is a killer” (12/8).

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