French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has announced vaccination will be mandatory this coming 2018, saying that it’s “unacceptable” that children are still “dying of measles.”
Currently, three childhood vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, and polio are mandatory in France while those for hepatitis and whooping cough are simply recommended, The Independent reports.
Announcing the policy, Mr Philippe evoked the name of Louis Pasteur, the French biologist who made breakthroughs in disease research and developed the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax in the 19th century.
He said all the vaccines which are universally recommended by health authorities – 11 in total – would be compulsory.
According to the World Health Organization, misguided fears about vaccines are making vaccination rates drop across Europe, causing once eradicated diseases like measles to return. As The Independent reports, a recent survey revealed that “more than three out of 10 French people don’t trust vaccines, with just 52 per cent of participants saying the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.”
In January and February of this year there were already 79 reported cases of measles in France’s north-eastern Lorraine region. From 2008 to 2016, there have been 24,000 measles cases in the country as a whole, bringing 1o deaths and another 1,500 people experiencing “serious complications” from the disease.
The current wave of anti-vaccine hysteria can be traced back to a single study that appeared in the Lancet medical journal — a study that was outright debunked in the science world, which fraudulently linked vaccines to autism. In a 2011 issue of BMJ (British Medical Journal), investigative reporter Brian Deer slammed the Lancet study, pointing out that key facts were distorted to support the autism link. The study was led by a British doctor named Andrew Wakefield, who claimed that 8 children developed “regressive autism” after getting a combination of vaccines to prevent mumps and rubella. The study was later retracted and Wakefield lost his medical license.
To this day, there remains no evidence that vaccines are linked to autism or any other neurological diseases.
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