Politics Play Role In Italy’s Anti-Vaccination Movement, Threatening Herd Immunity

Washington Post: Italy’s right wing is waging a dangerous attack on vaccinations
Michael Gerson, columnist for the Washington Post

“…Italy’s right-wing coalition government … has provided a political home for the anti-vaccination movement. … The arguments of the Italian anti-vaccination movement are the same as elsewhere. Its members believe vaccinations are somehow associated with either autism, tumors, or allergies. Since there is no reputable science to support this view — none at all — they turn to the language of parental choice and ‘more freedom’ for families in health care. And they often add a conspiratorial element, accusing Big Pharma of making a profit from unnecessary vaccinations. The problem, of course, is that when too many parents in a community choose to believe these myths, herd immunity is lost. … And when herd immunity is lost, this leaves children who truly can’t be vaccinated — children with weak immune systems, cancer, or chronic illness — vulnerable to dangerous infections. … The populist revolt against the ‘establishment’ has been extended from the governing establishment to the medical and scientific establishment. … But pathogens really don’t care about political constructs. They lurk in small pockets of humanity and return with a vengeance when humans are not vigilant. When politics lessens that vigilance, it can leave not only confusion but also victims” (12/10).

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