Soaring rates of measles in Europe are a major concern, because the four fold increase in cases is down to people rejecting vaccination. The British Polio Fellowship is familiar with the difficulties posed by those who shun vaccination. Even today, the fight against Polio is made harder by those who reject immunisation. We must challenge the false perceptions and lies (including here in the UK), used to discredit vaccination.
Discredited research suggesting a link between the measles vaccine (MMR) and other conditions is still brought up, despite the doctor concerned being struck off. 20 years later and 20,000 new measles cases in 2017 alone and scores of deaths, we can see the damage done. Likewise, the battle to beat Polio in countries where it is still endemic is made harder by extremists, convinced immunisation is unwanted western influence. The result is disability and death and the survivors face Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) in later life – a neurological condition for which there is no cure.
The tragedy is, this is all avoidable. We must keep battling for children to be immunised against Polio and measles in high risk areas, to prevent these killer diseases from taking hold again. The largest outbreaks of measles have been in Europe, but viruses like measles and Polio do not respect borders. To stay safe, we need to take vaccination seriously and recognise its power to save lives.
For further information about The British Polio Fellowship, visit www.britishpolio.org.uk or call 0800 043 1935.
National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship