Social Media Facilitates Vaccine Hysteria to Run Amok

by Dr Sam Girgis on November 17, 2011

There is a growing anti-vaccine movement that has been spread by unfounded fears over the possible real and false side effects of vaccinations.  Due to this anti-vaccine movement, the compliance rate for several important childhood vaccines has dropped.  We have previously discussed the rise in the number of measles cases, in the United States and abroad, due to the fraudulent MMR vaccine – autism link.  The rise in the number of measles cases is likely related to the increasing non-compliance with recommended childhood vaccination schedules.  There have been new advancements in the anti-vaccine movement that are even more alarming than simple non-compliance.  Social media, such as Facebook, and other online websites, such as Craigslist, have facilitated and helped advance the hysteria that surrounds the anti-vaccine movement.  There have been a number of Facebook pages that have been started with the intent of obtaining chickenpox infected lollipops.  The parents of children, who are not vaccinated against varicella virus, have attempted to impart natural chickenpox infection by giving their children these chickenpox infected lollipops.  The parents are under the impression that natural immunity, through infection with the wild type virus, is safer and superior than the chickenpox vaccine.  In addition, several groups have attempted to send chickenpox infected lollipops through the United States postal system.  Chicken pox parties have been organized, in an effort to allow chicken pox infected children to transmit varicella virus to uninfected children.  Federal authorities have begun to prosecute groups who send chicken pox tainted lollipops through the postal system, as sending hazardous biological agents through mail is a crime.  In addition, it should be known that the chicken pox vaccine is safe and effective.  Chicken pox infection can be very virulent and dangerous and can result in severe pneumonia and even death.  Infected lollipops can also transmit other infectious agents such as Strep bacteria, measles, and other viruses.  Health care authorities have officially recommended against the practice of pox parties and the distribution of chicken pox infected lollipops.  It should also be noted that the pediatric vaccination schedule, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is safe and effective.

Watch the following video news clip regarding this alarming trend:

Reference:

Anahad O’Connor “Pox Parties in the Age of FacebookNew York Times November 16, 2011, 4:48 pm

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