Measles has made a shocking return to the US

The World Health Organisation recommends that 95 per cent of people need to be vaccinated against measles to achieve herd immunity, which stops the infection spreading through populations.)  An estimated 169 million children worldwide have missed out on getting the first dose of a measles vaccine, according to Unicef. This includes nearly 2.6 million children in the US, 608,000 children in France, and more than half a million children in the UK.

The study analysed global data from 2010 to 2017, and found that an average of 21.2 million children are missing their first dose of vaccine every year.   Children need two doses of the MMR vaccine for protection. An estimated 110,000 people – most of them children – are thought to have died from measles in 2017, a 22 per cent increase on the previous year.  In the first three months of 2019, more than 110,000 measles cases were reported worldwide, up almost 300 per cent on the same period the year before.

“The measles virus will always find un-vaccinated children,” says Henrietta Fore, of Unicef. “If we are serious about averting the spread of this dangerous but preventable disease, we need to vaccinate every child, in rich and poor countries alike.”  (Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

The five characteristics of science denialism:

1.  Conspiracies:  Arguing that scientific consensus is the result of a complex and secretive conspiracy.

2.   Fake experts:  Using fake experts as authorities combined with denigration of established experts.

3.    Selectivity:  Referring to isolated papers that challenge scientific consensus.

4.  Impossible expectations:  Expecting 100% certain results or health treatments with no possible side-effects.

5   Misrepresentation and false logic, jumping to conclusions, using false analogies etc

If you find yourself confronted with avaccine denier, you  should remember that the most substantial arguments are on your side. Having a vast body of evidence agreed by the majority of scientists to back up your position makes you well-prepared from a scientific perspective. The scientific consensus that you are representing can serve as an initial “gateway” through which to influence your audience’s key beliefs and increase their support for public policy in support of immunization. Emphasizing the existing scientific agreement on vaccine safety and efficiency can strongly influence people’s attitudes towards vaccinations. You should emphasize how overwhelmingly the evidence supports vaccine safety and efficacy – not just one or two studies – and that the vast majority of scientists and clinicians in the field agree with this.

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