If an entire neighborhood is burning, as any firefighter knows, putting out only your own makes zero sense. So long as any house is on fire, the whole neighborhood, and town, is unsafe.
The same goes for tackling a global pandemic. But rich countries have yet to wake up to this fact. President Biden is firmly sticking to an America-first approach when it comes to vaccination. The U.S. will loan half of its stockpile of millions of AstraZeneca vaccines to Mexico and Canada. That’s it, even though it has secured enough doses from other manufacturers to cover all adults in the country by May. Soon it will have excess supply of 100 million doses.
Natural-lifestyle parents in California’s anti-vaccine communities seem to believe that it’s better that their children get childhood diseases than to have toxins put into their bodies by being vaccinated. This reasoning is equivalent to brushing teeth with organic, fluoride-free toothpaste and then developing cavity – except that, unlike cavity, measles is contagious and can kill.
Given that the falling rate of immunization has allowed measles to resurge, after it was declared eliminated 15 years ago, an awareness-raising campaign is in order. It’s good that California is trying to make it harder for parents to opt out of vaccinating children, but that doesn’t diminish the need to address the public’s lack of knowledge, misinformation or distrust.
Bogale, Myanmar, 10 June 2008 — Every morning since Cyclone Nargis made landfall, Doctor Ye Lwin has been getting up at five o’clock. After morning prayers, he starts seeing patients who have travelled a long way to come to the makeshift clinic UNDP has set up at its Bogale township office.