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These Babies Contracted Measles Because Of Anti-Vaxxers

Anti-vaxxers are awful online, spreading misinformation in the form of badly done memes. But they’re even worse in real life, where they cause real problems for real people.

This week, two different babies who’ve contracted measles because they were too young to get vaccinated were in the news (babies don’t get the MMR vaccine until they’ve reached their first birthdays). One baby is named Alba, the daughter of Jilly Moss, and the other is Shira Goldschmidt, whose mom is Fainy Sukenik. Alba is in London and Shira is in Israel.

While it’s not completely clear where the babies each got measles, the chances are high that it had to do with being around people who choose not to vaccinate themselves or their children. According to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, the measles virus is so contagious that a baby under the age of 1 can contract it just be being in a room where someone with measles had been two hours earlier.

And for every 1,000 children who come down with measles, one or two will die.

Moss shared pictures of Alba on Facebook at the request of the medical staff at Chelsea West Hospital, who hope her post helps warn other parents about the dangers of measles.

PLEASE READ AND SHARE WITH ALL PARENTS. THANK YOU. The Doctors and Nurses at Chelsea West hospital have asked if we...

Posted by Jilly Moss on Sunday, April 14, 2019

Moss told the Independent, “I would like people to understand that the reason we shared such heartbreaking images of our beautiful baby is to raise awareness of what measles can do.”

Speaking to CNN, Sukenik said, “I’m so angry and so frustrated. On Facebook, I wrote to the anti-vaxers, ‘you are hurting our kids because of your choice.'” Sukenik’s four other children are all vaccinated.

CNN

When Shira first got sick in December, Sukenik wrote a post on Facebook (the original post is in Hebrew) that read, in part:

Let’s talk for a moment about freedom of choice for those who believe that vaccinations are Satan and the source of all evil. It should be stated that they have a right to believe in anything they choose, but we should also talk about the price that others pay.

Sukenik also suggested that anti-vaxxers either “stay in enclosed areas or hold a big banner noting that you are anti-vaccine.”

She told CNN, “Are you ashamed that you don’t vaccinate? No, you’re not ashamed. So you should wear a sign and let me choose whether my kids will play with your kids.”

The outbreak of measles in Israel is larger than the one in the U.S. Since March 2018, there have been almost 4,000 cases of measles reported in Israel, compared to fewer than 1,000 in the U.S. But the outbreak could get much bigger here—there are reports that recently a person from New York went to Michigan and infected 41 people there with measles. And according to the World Health Organization (WHO) the number of cases of measles globally in the first three months of 2019 is up 300% from the same time period last year.

On Facebook, Moss wrote, “The MMR does not cause life-threatening issues like measles does. Your babies might feel under the weather for a day or so, but believe me, you’d accept that over what we have been through.”

If pictures of tiny suffering babies don’t make anti-vaxxers feel moved to change their ways, who knows what will.

h/t: Independent, CNN, Facebook: Jilly Moss, Facebook: Fainy Sukenik

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Written by Dean

Dean Altman is a writer living in NYC.