It is all the rage to blame “anti-vaxxers” for the world’s ills, but one may want to read more than the headline of an article before ranting on Twitter, lest they look like Rick Wilson.
Wilson took to Twitter to lament that “anti-vaxxer morons” are somehow responsible for an “outbreak” of polio in the United Kingdom. However, the fearmongering headline of the article wasn’t quite on par with the information contained within.
(** Language warning)
fucking polio. Goddamn you anti-vax morons to hell and gone.
First outbreak of highly infectious polio detected in UK since 1984 – the 6 signs to know https://t.co/kLvGnndiMq
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) June 23, 2022
An outbreak of polio certainly sounds frightening, and anyone who has spent any amount of time researching the disease is certainly wary of any chance of a resurgence. A deeper dive into the actual circumstances behind the “outbreak” shows that it’s not necessarily “anti-vaxxers” who are at fault.
From The US Sun:
Experts have detected the same bug in London sewage samples since April – a clear signal of a community outbreak.
No cases have yet been confirmed in the UK and the UKHSA said samples were found in East and North London.
This, chiefs say ‘suggests it is likely there has been some spread between closely-linked individuals’.
While no cases have presented, the UK Health Security Agency believes “a traveller – likely from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Nigeria – shed the virus in their stools after being given the oral polio inoculation.” This is quite a far cry from the picture Wilson was likely trying to paint with his comments regarding “anti-vaxxers.”
Aside from this, even officials “insist the overall risk to the public remains very low” as “[v]accine-derived poliovirus is rare.”
However, the risk is not zero, and vaccine-derived poliovirus still has the potential to spread, especially among communities with low vaccination rates.
The replies on the tweet attempted to set Wilson straight as well:
It’s also incredibly rare in its natural form and most polio (and this one) is from the vaccine, and anyone who has been vaccinated against polio is protected against vaccine derived polio. Rick is overreacting here a bit. I don’t disagree that it’s bad, but not end of the world
— lifelong derrick white fan (@runningmanfa) June 23, 2022
https://t.co/cO8KTQqytD They know the source. The virus in the samples came from a type of oral polio vaccine that is used to contain outbreaks..In recent months, that type of vaccine has been used only in Afghanistan, Pakistan and some countries in the Middle East and Africa
— pinktweets (@pinktweets) June 23, 2022
Not only that, but when there have been outbreaks in the US it’s generally been among immigration populations , not “anti-vaxers”
— dr. danbobbbb (@TheChosenOneToo) June 23, 2022
It literally says it probably came from a recently vaccinated person but hey why bother reading
— Moon (@moonman420691) June 23, 2022
Maybe take a look at what the article itself cites as the likely source of the outbreak before opining? Same for ol’ Rick. We’re all drowning in confirmation bias.
— Laura (@LauraJHJ) June 23, 2022
It’s from someone who received an oral, live virus polio vaccine, which is still used in parts of the world where polio circulated. Has nothing to do with antivaxxers.
— E.Kate (@WCreekerE) June 23, 2022
I’m a firm proponent of vaccines. However, the article seems to say they think this particular outbreak is a result of someone’s oral inoculation? Did I read that right?
— Writing With Coffee (@WriteWithCoffee) June 23, 2022
The article says the signs of an outbreak are definitely showing since April, but no one has been identified;
— bethrstone🇺🇸✡️🌻👩🌾🌊🤯 (@bethRstone1) June 23, 2022
It originated in someone who got Polio from an oral version of the vaccine. That particular “wild” infection would have come from someone inoculated in another country as UK doesn’t use that type of vaccine. We can blame anti-vaxxers for measles and COVID, but not this instance.
— Joe Lavender (@joelavender) June 23, 2022
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