This year, the US had an outbreak of a preventable disease, because of how many children are going unvaccinated. This disease kills 164,000 people across the world every year, mostly young children. Anti-vaccinationists think that’s “marvellous”.
The cover of a new colossally fucked-up book depicts a potentially fatal illness as being like dancing with butterflies in a pretty garden.
Measles might not really be on your radar as a major threat to children’s lives. That’s probably because you live in a country with a decent healthcare infrastructure where kids tend to get vaccinated routinely, which is why worldwide measles deaths recently dropped by 78% in under a decade. In less economically developed countries where widespread, systematic vaccination isn’t an option, that’s where people die, or suffer complications such as blindness or severe respiratory infection.
The likes of Stephanie Messenger, who want to teach children to “embrace childhood disease”, and have to mislead them (deliberately or otherwise) about the facts to achieve that goal, provide about the biggest challenge out of anyone I ever try to empathise with. They want to make the western world’s relationship with preventable diseases more like that of Africa, before a major vaccination initiative on that continent started saving around 300,000 lives every year.