Government health officials are becoming increasingly concerned about the rise of the anti-vaccination movement, which withholds much needed vaccinations to deadly diseases on the grounds the shots are more harmful to children than the diseases themselves.
This issue is contentious, with Australia recently banning people from the healthcare system who do not receive the free shots.
This looks to be a smart policy, as confirmed by a six-year-old child from Spain that has been admitted to hospital with the first recorded case of diphtheria in the country since 1986.
The little boy had not been received vaccinations against the infectious disease, despite the free vaccination programs offered by Spanish public health services.
EL PAÍS, a Spanish news agency, confirmed the boy had not been vaccinated because his parents are against the practice.
The disease is deadly and the child is currently in the intensive care unit, where he is being treated with an anti-toxin. Yet because the disease is now so rare, thanks to vaccines, the Health Ministry had to search for the anti-toxin worldwide. Some was finally sourced from Russia, where the Russian ambassador flew to Spain to personally give the country the much needed drug.
“The problem is that these days, no one has this illness. Everyone is vaccinated,” Rubén Moreno, the general secretary for the health service, told EL PAÍS.
Diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae, which is most likely to affect children under five and adults over 60. It spreads via direct contact or through the air, and causes severe respiratory problems.
One out of every 10 patients dies from the early symptoms
In light of this, general secretary Moreno, called these campaigns “irresponsible.” He continued: “The consequences of not vaccinating a child can be dramatic. The right to vaccination is for children, not for the parents to decide.”