Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues

Opinion Pieces Discuss Issues Around Anti-Vaccination Movement, Threat To Global Health

Foreign Policy: The World’s Many Measles Conspiracies Are All the Same
Laurie Garrett, former senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…Vaccination isn’t just an individual choice; it’s a social contract entered into by the public and its government. … When governments fail to fulfill their side of the social contract, not providing vaccines to the population in an appropriate and affordable manner, outbreaks soon follow. … Most vaccine refusal worldwide goes hand in hand with public distrust in government. … But the global anti-vaccination movement that predominantly confronts public health advocates today is dominated by highly educated, typically well-heeled individuals … The anti-vaccination movement is, at its heart, based on privilege. … Unfortunately, there is no simple recipe for cooking up bonds of trust amid a broken social contract. Public health leaders and pediatricians are hard-pressed to counter anti-vaccination messaging that is tied to larger political, religious, and cultural divisions and suspicions. Once the obligations of herd immunity are cast aside, the individual trumps the needs of the community. And once the one is more important than the us or all, it’s very hard to reverse that equation” (3/6).

New York Times: This Is the Truth About Vaccines
Brett P. Giroir, assistant secretary for Health and Human Services; Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Jerome M. Adams, U.S. surgeon general

“Vaccinations save lives, protect our children, and are one of our greatest public health achievements. … But misinformation about vaccines is still widely reported, so we feel it is crucial to state clearly and unambiguously: Vaccines do not cause autism and they do not contain toxic chemicals. … Unfortunately, many more communities are at risk for outbreaks because of areas with low vaccine coverage. … We cannot be complacent. The recent measles outbreaks are a reminder that diseases that we might have thought had become rare in the United States are still infecting unvaccinated people, sometimes with dire consequences: Children with measles can develop fatal complications. These diseases should be seen only in history books — not in our emergency rooms. We are committed to countering the misinformation that fuels anti-vaccine sentiment among parents and legislators who are earnestly trying to protect their children and the public. Science that sits on the shelf has no value. We must take advantage of the lifesaving tools we have to protect our nation’s most vulnerable. Our children, and our children’s children, have the opportunity to grow up in a world that is free from polio, measles, and other vaccine-preventable diseases. We must work together to make this a reality” (3/6).