© Mara Gabriëlle, Daphne Knipping and Door Frankema
12 Mai 2018
In recent years there has been a shortage of measles vaccines in Ukraine. Vaccination rates had dropped to 31% in 2016 and were the lowest in Europe. And yet there were hardly any cases of measles. In 2017 sufficient vaccines became available for a ‘catch-up campaign’ and 90% of the children in Ukraine received the MMR. And since then there has been an explosion of cases of measles. The number has already surpassed 12,000!
There has only been one confirmed measles death in the US since 2003, an immune-suppressed female hospital patient who suffered complications from subsequent pneumonia. A 1983 French study of 4.2 million people, when measles vaccination rates were less than 20%, showed the risk of death from measles was 1 in 1,785,000 and the risk of disability from measles was 1 in 2,083,000.
Somalis, frustrated by the indifference of public health officials and wondering whether to vaccinate their children, might reasonably calculate that contracting measles in a Western country has low odds of a serious outcome. Clearly, the odds of death or disability from measles must seem better than 1 in 32 odds of getting autism. Maybe it’s time to stop vilifying them and start listening.
Worried about measles? Just boost your bèta carotene levels, for example with fresh, organic carrot juice, and you'll be fine: