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Dangerous propaganda against vaccines

30 November 2014 / 22:11:57  GRReporter
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Some won't read any further, because "as citizens of this capitalist society, we certainly cannot learn the truth from the media, whose sponsors are the big companies." This is how a piece, quoted by Kathimerini and entitled "Autism: side effects of vaccines have been discovered that shock ...", begins. The material divulges scientific evidence unmasking the conspiracy of Big Pharma, which leads to an upsurge of autism cases or even of fatalities. It has been syndicated by a great deal of sites and blogs, and is running viral in Facebook as well. The so-called ‘movement against vaccines’ has had serious repercussions in Greece, and the first consequences have already materialised.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza in the period 2013-2014 has led to 145 deaths, and a total of 579 since 2009. 330 people have been hospitalized, and their overall number since 2009 is 927. 255 of these 330 patients (77.3%) have had an underlying disease, but only 20 of them were vaccinated.

According to the latest data of the National School of Public Health for 2012, one third of Greek parents are cautious with regard to the vaccination of their children. In 2006 this percentage was less than 20%. Moreover, there is a sharp decrease in the number of children vaccinated with the second dose of MMR vaccine against measles, rubella and mumps. In 2012 only 83% of children were vaccinated. The required rate of vaccination if measles were to disappear from Greece is 95%. In 2011 there was an epidemic of measles, and in northern Greece alone there were 112 cases of this forgotten disease.

The triple MMR vaccine has been subject to the most vicious attacks due to suspicions it has something to do with the onset of autism. This is the most serious concern among parents visiting the office of paediatrician Dr Konstantinos Karydis, a specialist in infectious diseases.

"The study in question was only based on eight children," Karydis said before Kathimerini. "Subsequently, a member of the team has admitted that they had given inaccurate data and the team leader had received funding from a third party. The author of the publication was stripped of his physician’s licence and charged with fraud in the UK. It has already been proven that autism has the same incidence among vaccinated and non-vaccinated children," emphasised Dr Karydis.

Experts believe that because of the spreading of the ideas of the lobby against vaccines, the percentage of vaccinated children will fall further. This will heighten the risk of diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella and polio. "The movement against vaccination is already so strong that many children in the US are not vaccinated against measles. This has led to 11 outbreaks in the last few years," the paediatrician adds. (The USA was declared ‘measles free’ in 2000). The country has recently seen outbreaks of whooping cough as well. In Los Angeles alone, during the first six months of 2014, 356 children were hospitalised with uncontrollable cough resulting from this disease. According to Dr Karydis in Europe too, "One million people refuse to vaccinate their children. Because of this, diseases, which are easily preventable, have caused disability and even death."

But why have people withdrawn their trust from vaccines? "The large number of vaccines discovered in recent years has led some to believe that they are unnecessary and have only been introduced for financial gain. People's ignorance about some infectious diseases, which they have never experienced themselves, easily turns them against vaccines, especially when they are afraid of their side effects. Others distrust required vaccinations introduced by the states because in some cases there were errors in applying them. Remember how in 2009, during the initial phase of the H1N1 flu in our country, vaccinated people were requested to take on the responsibility for the vaccination in writing! Something else that has a role to play here is the spreading of disinformation at the speed of light as bad news is always more appealing. Add to this parents’ conviction they ‘can find it all on the web’," Dr Karydis explained.

Ignorance about vaccinations

Back in the 1960s there were only 6 vaccines: against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, tuberculosis and smallpox. Over the following decades, vaccines have been added for another seven diseases (measles, rubella, mumps, hepatitis A and B, varicella and influenza). Vaccines were also invented against five pathogens causing meningitis and sepsis, as well as against two viruses (the rotavirus that causes gastroenteritis, and the human papilloma virus). "People became really confused because they had to swallow quite a bit of material. And when we talk about people, it includes many of the medics as well," said the paediatrician.

He also pointed out that over the past 25 years so many vaccines have emerged that doctors who are not specifically involved with this field, as well as many pharmacists and other medical personnel, have failed to catch up with them. "All health professionals cannot have their own opinions on all the latest vaccines. But it is well known how people are accustomed to getting advice from non-specialists. confusion and misinformation have been on the increase in the age of internet." Dr. Karydis maintained that everybody must respect the national vaccination programme. "Vaccines are one of the greatest achievements in public health", the doctor emphasized.

Tags: vaccines diseases movement against vaccination
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