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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Polio Survivor On the Rise of Antivax Sentiment

 In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread   Examples include measlesCOVID, flu, and polio.

At The Guardian, polio survivor Paul Steiger writes:
[T]he success with polio elimination had helped pave the way in the United States for development and introduction of vaccines for measles in 1963, then for such other diseases as mumps and rubella. The combined “MMR” vaccines became standard for babies in the United States.

Then trouble emerged. Some reports, though definitively discredited, gave rise to the belief in a link between vaccination and autism. When the coronavirus struck, researchers and drug companies rapidly produced safe and effective vaccines to repel several versions of the mutating Covid virus. But the other side of the vaccine-versus-virus equation – getting everyone vaccinated – was no longer so readily achieved.

Whether for politics, religion, fear of side effects, or a prioritization of individualism, some people no longer embraced the collaborative spirit that made other massive vaccination drives so successful.

The commitment to social good necessary to meet public health challenges became apparent not just in the coronavirus, but also in seemingly conquered diseases like polio. An unvaccinated adult in one of New York’s suburbs was diagnosed with the disease. Polio virus samples were detected in the city’s wastewater.