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Australian Doctor’s Angry Plea to Anti-Vaxxer Parents Goes Viral

This sign is both savage and extremely thought provoking.

Flickr Sanofi Pasteur

Even though scientists have thoroughly and repeatedly debunked the theory that vaccinations put children at risk, Still, a lot of parents continue to embrace anti-vaxxer propaganda, putting their kids (and other kids) in harm’s way. For healthcare professionals, this is more than a little frustrating. Now, one Australian pediatrician’s frustrated public plea begging anti-vaxxers to consider the long-term effects of their choices has gone viral. An image of the sign, which hangs at the Northern Rivers Vaccination Association in New South Wales, was posted to Facebook by a woman named Sunni Mariah. It has since been shared 200,000 times by people (and parents) all over the world.

What makes the sign remarkable? Essentially, that it calls out ant-vaxxer parents for selfishness in precisely the sort of aggressive way that many doctors don’t. It also highlight specific and serious hazards of forgoing vaccination. The text is dense with accusation:

Not vaccinating your kids leaves them vulnerable to disease their whole lives. When your daughter gets rubella when pregnant, how are you going to explain that you chose to leave her at risk? What will you say when she calls you and tells you she has cervical cancer because you decided that she wouldn’t need the HPV vaccine? What do you tell your son when he breaks the news to you that he cannot have kids, thanks to the mumps that he got as a teenager? And what do you say when he gives influenza to his grandma? How do you explain that she won’t be coming home from hospital? Not ever. Do you tell them that you didn’t think these diseases were that serious? That you thought your organic, home-cooked food was enough to protect them? Do you say sorry?”

The afflictions that are listed in the letter are totally preventable, but because of the choices some parents make, people are still dealing with them today. Rubella, for example, is a disease that’s a lot like the measles and according to the CDC was eliminated from the US in 2004. Eliminated here means “the absence of continuous disease transmission for 12 months or more in a specific geographic area.” Despite this, people who haven’t been vaccinated for it can still contract Rubella when they travel overseas and give it to people here. Some 80 percent of sexually active people still contract HPV at some point in their lives and influenza killed more than 10 children last year.

New sign at my Dr’s office is throwing some serious shade vaccinateyourkidsEdit: the original poster was written by Northern Rivers Vaccination Association

Posted by Sunni Mariah on Friday, July 20, 2018

The comments were mostly in favor of the note, but unsurprisingly there was some debate. There always is. That’s the problem. Still, there are numerous examples of the public health hazard represents by anti-vaxxer campaigns aimed at parents. No wonder this sign resonates.