Since the publishing of a now debunked fraudulent study from more than 20 years ago, a debate over the safety of vaccines has swirled in parenting communities around the world. However, you don't normally expect to see lawmakers wading into the anti-vaxxer waters. Australian politician Pauline Hanson caught a ton of social media flak when she publicly questioned the effectiveness of vaccinations, shocking many medical experts all over the country.
Now, it's one thing if your aunt is posting anti-vaxxing propaganda on her Facebook page and another entirely if a key politician is spouting that nonsense to the public. Understandably, people were quick to put her in her place.
The most heartbreaking example, however, comes from Catherine Hughes who tweeted this photo of her son who died from whooping cough.
Whooping Cough is a debilitating disease that is life-threatening for infants. Vaccinations against whooping cough save countless children's lives every year. Though Riley was too young to have been vaccinated yet, herd immunity used to protect vulnerable children—such as infants and immune-compromised individuals who can't tolerate vaccines—from contracting the illness.
However, with a significant number of parents delaying vaccines or refusing them altogether, illnesses that were once nearly eradicated are showing up with increased frequency.
Hughes' son was only 32 days old when he succumbed to the illness. Ever since his death, she's been an supporter of vaccinations.
"The advice she is offering to parents is not just thoughtless, it's dangerous."
"I don’t know who is providing [Hanson with] advice about immunisation, but she needs to consider having a chat with some real experts," Hughes said in an interview with BuzzFeed.
Australia's medical community are also letting Hanson know what they think about her ill-informed comments.
Australia's Labor Health Spokesperson also took on Hanson's anti-vaxxing comments.
In fact, a bunch of politicians joined the discussion.
The clear & categorical advice from medical experts including the CMO, based on decades of research & evidence, is vaccinations save lives.— Greg Hunt (@GregHuntMP) March 5, 2017
Pauline Hanson's view on vaccinations is dangerous and puts all of our children at risk. As a mother I am appalled she could be so reckless.— Sarah Hanson-Young (@sarahinthesen8) March 6, 2017
Hughes went on to say that the greatest danger that comes from Hanson's uneducated comments regarding vaccination is that it helps to legitimize the arguments of anti-vaxxers, when in fact, the overwhelming majority of the world's leading medical experts agree that vaccinations save lives.
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