According to the most recent report by the Department of Health, there has been at least one case of measles in nearly every province of the Philippines. As of February 26, there was a total of 13,723 cases which resulted in 215 deaths. A disease that was supposedly wiped out in the 20th century has seen a resurgence due to what officials coin ‘vaccine hesitancy’.
In layman’s terms, this is what we call the anti-vaccination movement or anti-vaxxers. This phenomenon began due to a study which linked the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine with autism. Basically, people now think that vaccines cause autism or other similar harms.
There is no other way to put it: whoever believes that is wrong. There is no shred of scientific evidence to stand behind it as the original study has been debunked multiple times. 10 of the study’s authors withdrew their findings, its lead author (Andrew Wakefield) had his medical license stripped, and the publishing medical journal retracted the paper.
The belief is supported more by myth than science and is one of the ugliest manifestations of a post-truth society.
In the Philippines, our own anti-vaccination movement has been propelled forward by the sensationalized dengvaxia case. The politicization of the ‘scandal’ exaggerated the harms and created a panic against vaccinations in general. People started to mistrust any and all vaccinations, fearing dire effects from even the most reputable vaccines. The Public Attorneys Office Chief who led the persecution of the dengvaxia scandal allegedly even posted a photo that claimed: “Vaccines [are] bioweapons”.
This link has been confirmed by the Department of Health and different medical professionals as well. When conducting their own inquiries into the measles outbreak they found parents willingly admitting that the dengvaxia case turned them off from vaccinating their children. Even after health professionals had lengthy dialogues with some families, they were not willing to have their children vaccinated from fear of dengvaxia.
Whether or not the harms of dengvaxia are ever proven to be true (which they have not, by the way) there is no direct link to any other vaccination. So even if you believe that the dengvaxia vaccine is dangerous, there is no logical reason to think the MMR vaccine is similarly dangerous. Especially since the MMR vaccine has been in use since the 1960s with no life-threatening effects.
The conclusion is simple: please vaccinate your children. There are no proven or verifiable dangers to your child’s health — you literally lose nothing. By refusing to vaccinate your child you only put your child and the people around you in danger by weakening the effectivity of herd immunization. Do remember that there is still no cure for the measles, mumps, or rubella.
What do you think of the anti-vaxxer movement?