US #vaccination rates are beginning to resemble those in developing countries

Monday, February 9, 2015

In light of the ongoing measles outbreak in the US, the Guardian published a piece last week pointing out that the US and Canada have lower measles vaccination rates than several African countries. According to Good Governance Africa's 2015 Africa Survey, 21 African countries have higher rates than the U.S.:
The US has a 91% vaccination rate, while in Canada, which is currently experiencing an outbreak in Toronto, it is 84%, according to a UN estimate. A 95% rate is required for so-called “herd immunity”.

A survey this week by Canadian researchers found that a fifth of the population still believed the long-debunked myth that the measles vaccine causes autism.
...
GGA, a research and advocacy organisation based in South Africa, produces a collection of social, political and economic indicators from all 55 African countries, including information on the fight against measles from World Health Organisation (WHO).

The survey shows that 16 countries in Africa, including Tanzania, Morocco, Libya, Mauritius, Eritrea, Gambia and Egypt have almost 100% vaccination rates, and five others - Zimbabwe, Algeria, Kenya, Botswana and Lesotho, have higher rates than the US.
Obviously, the message that should be taken away from this story is that vaccination is a powerful, low-cost intervention that can reduce death and disease in the most resource-poor communities. As countless development wonks and bloggers have pointed out, "You're worse than Africa!" is not exactly a constructive conversation. Still, it brings this Tweet, which went viral last week, to mind:

Not to mention this bit with Trevor Noah on the Daily Show:

Love that guy.

Don't ruin Disneyland, people. Vaccinate your freaking kids.

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