The World Health Organization [WHO] issued a briefing this morning, declaring the recent rise in polio cases a worldwide emergency while asserting that a coordinated, international effort was needed to combat the spread of the disease. The recommendations include stepping up vaccination efforts in underdeveloped regions, along with requiring anyone travelling from nations where cases are prevalent to possess a vaccination certificate.
“Conflict makes it very difficult for the vaccinators to get to the children who need vaccine. It’s been more difficult to finish than had been hoped.”Brought to the brink of eradication a mere two years ago, insurgencies and acts of terrorism in nations like Syria and Pakistan have severely hampered vaccination efforts; add to that a near-fanatical suspicion of anything coming from western medicine in many of the afflicted countries, and the difficulties become nearly insurmountable.
- David Heymann, Professor, London School of Hygiene / Tropical Medicine.
#WHO declared polio endemic to 10 countries & an international emergency; remind you it's 2014 & we had vaccines to prevent this
— Flora Ivezaj (@floraivezaj) May 5, 2014
This is not limited to 'fanatics, however, as universal mistrust of Authority has taken root, especially of United States [US] Authority, whose agenda is often questioned. In the west this suspicion has lead to an "anti-vax' movement (inspired by the still-unexplained rises in autism and other ailments in children, occurring largely since mass-vaccination drives began), while in the east fears are amplified by a myriad of concerns (the CIA using vaccination campaigns to collect DNA in Pakistan being the most glaring).
While the sheer volume of vaccines being administered to young children - taken in concert with the aforementioned mistrust - might provide a semblance of justification for so-called 'anti-vaxers,' at least the track record for the polio vaccine speaks for itself; since being created in 1955, its use has protected billions of children from the debilitating illness, bringing it to the point of eradication in the US by 1979.
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