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A prominent anti-vaccine activist was hospitalized with chickenpox

According to a report, a prominent anti-vaccine activist and politician in Italy has been hospitalized with the completely preventable childhood disease we all lovingly know as chickenpox.

Massimiliano Fedriga, who is the president of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and member of the right-wing Northern League party, revealed he was ill on Twitter.

He previously argued against the Lorenzin decree, which made vaccination compulsory for children before they could attend school, back in 2017. (Daily Mail)

Chickenpox is an extremely contagious disease that many people of my generation contracted as children, resulting in itchy red blisters on the skin all over your body and a general feeling of wanting to die when you’re 8 years old. Once you’ve had chickenpox as a child, you become immune to it for the rest of your life (very rarely do people catch chickenpox twice).

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Thankfully, we now have a vaccine so children who are vaccinated will never have to experience chickenpox or be in attendance of “pox parties” – play dates for kids to intentionally spread chicken pox while they’re children.

When you catch chickenpox as an adult, many complications can arise. Adults are at risk of pneumonia and (less commonly) meningitis or encephalitis. 

Prominent microbiologist Roberto Burioni shared the news about Mr Fedriga’s chickenpox on Twitter, saying it helpfully brought up the topic of vaccinations in adults.

Writing on his website MedicalFacts, he added: ‘[Mr Fedriga], like many adults, did not get vaccinated… if he had been vaccinated as an adult he would be in perfect health.

‘If he had infected a pregnant woman we would be facing a malformed child or an abortion.

‘The only way we have to avoid such tragedies is to vaccinate us all to prevent the circulation of this dangerous virus, which could have hit a much more vulnerable person.’ (Daily Mail)

Fedriga was hospitalized for four days and has already been released. Because, you know, four days in the hospital is much cheaper and much less an inconvenience from getting poked with a needle, I guess.

While some have argued he’s not the traditional anti-vaxxer since his kids are vaccinated against chickenpox, not pushing for mandated vaccines is just as bad since it effectively has the same end result – fewer people vaccinated, and more immunocompromised people potentially exposed to completely preventable diseases.

If you don’t think everyone who can be vaccinated should be vaccinated, I don’t see how it’s any better than being a full-blown anti-vaxxer.

It’s like the “I’m not an anti-vaxxer, but I think vaccines need to be spaced out” or “I’m not against vaccines, I just think there are too many chemicals in them” arguments. It doesn’t hold any weight and doesn’t make sense, and invites denialism into the discussion of the safety of vaccines.

Herd Immunity

Herd immunity only works when the herd is immunized. Otherwise, preventable diseases would be able to run rampant through communities.

So maybe he isn’t an anti-vaxxer in the literal sense, but he might as well be, and saying “pro-bioterrorism activist” in the headline wouldn’t have the same ring to it.

The fact is vaccines work, and are safe. And unless you are immunocompromised, it’s your responsibility to protect yourself – and more importantly everyone around you – by getting vaccinated.

h/t Refutations to Anti-Vaccine Memes

Written by Dan Broadbent

Science Enthusiast. Atheist. Lover of cats.

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