Another one for the “No Duh” file that still sadly has to be signal boosted because of the ignorance of way too many humans. The World Health Organization has listed “vaccine hesitancy” — which is the nice, clinical term for what we all call “anti-vaxxers” — as one of the ten most dangerous health threats for this year.
According to reporting in Newsweek, CDC data shows that while overall the number of vaccinated children remained pretty high in 2017, the number of children between about a year and a half to three years old that have not been vaccinated is four times as high as it was just over 15 years prior.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that while coverage of most recommended vaccines remained relatively stable and high in 2017 for American children aged 19 to 35 months, the percentage who have received no vaccinations has quadrupled since 2001.
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If a quadrupling of the number of vulnerable children who have not been vaccinated doesn’t scare you — maybe the fact that more and more people in this country are starting to hold anti-vaccination viewpoints will? More than 35% of the states in the union allow parents to opt-out of vaccinating their children before putting them in school for religious or moral beliefs about vaccines. In some states where mandatory vaccination is seen as part of some nefarious government plot, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them put similar laws on their books, driving that number up even further.
“Since 2009, the number of ‘philosophical-belief’ vaccine non-medical exemptions has risen in 12 of the 18 states that currently allow this policy: Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah,” the PLOS ONE study authors wrote in their paper.
In the interest of fairness, it’s not just the U.S. that’s driving the uptick in anti-vaccination stupidity, and the WHO took them into account as well.
Other countries with notable anti-vax movements include Australia, where around 40,000 children are unvaccinated because of the objections of their parents, and Italy, which introduced new rules in 2018 suspending the mandatory vaccinations that were required for children to be admitted to school.
The WHO did note several key areas where strides in vaccination have been all over the world to make changes that have had a very positive impact on raising human life expectancy. However, if human beings are too stupid to take advantage of those advances, it doesn’t do much good, does it?
Life expectancy has increased in many parts of the world, polio is on the verge of eradication and 6 million fewer children under the age of 5 died in 2016, compared with 1990.
So what else rounds out the top 10?
– Air pollution and climate change – It’s probably very shocking to find out that air and water quality will have an impact on our health, huh?
– Noncommunicable diseases – Things like cancer, diabetes, or liver disease aren’t passed from one to another, but they still pose a significant health risk obviously.
– Influenza – Yes, the good ol’ fashioned flu.
– Fragile and vulnerable settings – Things like civil war and famine tend to make you less healthy.
– Antimicrobial resistance – Stop taking antibiotics for every-damned-thing! As good as our medications are, if pathogens keep developing resistance to them thanks to over-prescription, we’re going to be in a lot of trouble.
– Ebola and other high-threat pathogens – Stupid Ebola. Always ruining things, and such an attention hog!
– Weak primary health care – Ooooh this will certain types with yellow snakey flags and whatnot, but it’s pretty much common sense. If you don’t have access to good primary health care, you’re in a much tougher situation than if you are.
– Dengue – This disease that’s transmitted via mosquito bites actually has a very low mortality rate when caught early, but in developing areas that are susceptible to outbreaks, it’s even more important to detect it early.
– HIV – Even though contracting HIV is not the instant death sentence it was 30 years ago or more, it still poses a significant threat. Millions still die from HIV/AIDS every single year, and some estimates are that over 37 million people are living with it to this day.
Every action or inaction has a consequence. Not vaccinating yourself or your children is an action of inaction with consequences for more than just you and your kids. I like living, and I like my kids not facing a post-apocalyptic outbreak that was totally avoidable, so to reiterate: VACCINATE. Thanks.
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.