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US Scientists: Refusing Vaccines Puts Everyone’s Health at Risk

The World Health Organization hopes to inoculate 5 million children in Yemen against polio this year, while in the United States a movement opposed to the use of vaccines in the very young is gaining momentum, prompting warnings from many doctors that this trend could result in dangerous outbreaks of diseases once under control.

Words in first paragraph >

inoculate : to give a weak form of a disease to aperson or animal, usually by injection, as a protection against that disease:

outbreak :  a time when something suddenlybegins, especially a disease or somethingelse dangerous or unpleasant:

Last weekend saw further thundery outbreaks.

Logo of the World Health Organization.

Dr. Peter J. Hotez, an expert in infectious diseases and paediatric care, is among those physicians arguing strenuously against those who oppose vaccines, based on their beliefs that American vaccination practices are putting their children at risk.

Words in Second paragraph >

paediatric : relating to the medical care of children:

Members of Texans for Vaccine Choice believe that vaccines administered to children may be linked to autism.

Words in Third paragraph >

autism : a condition that starts in young childrenand typically causes behaviour that isunusually centred on the self whilelimiting the development of social andcommunication skills:

== it is similar to ADHD

The scientific establishment has repeatedly discredited such theories, but parents who oppose vaccines say they should be able to disregard their government’s advice and choose for themselves whether to vaccinate their children.

Words in Fourth paragraph >

discredited : to cause people to stop respectingsomeone or believing in an idea orperson:

Evidence of links with drug dealers has discredited the mayor.

disregard : the fact of showing no care or respect for something:

What amazes me is her complete disregard for anyone else’s opinion.

The vaccine skeptics’ beliefs fly in the face of great statistical evidence compiled by the U.S. government’s health agencies, WHO and many other groups.

This year, however, their movement has been energized by some anti-vaccine comments President Donald Trump made years ago, and by his perceived opposition to vaccines during the political campaign that put him in the White House.

In a Skype interview with VOA this week, Hotez said the increase in parental opposition to children’s vaccinations could lead to a deadly resurgence of measles in Texas and other parts of the country.

In the 1970s, before children were widely vaccinated, measles was the leading cause of death of children worldwide.

“Measles is a bad actor,” Hotez said. “Even if it doesn’t kill, it can cause neurologic devastation,” he added, contrasting the potential of a full-scale outbreak with the popular notion that measles generally is a less-threatening disease — a rash, accompanied by fever, that goes away after a week or two.

Words in Ninth paragraph >

devastation : damage and destruction:

If disease is allowed to spread, it will causewidespread devastation.

Public health experts estimate that vaccines prevent the deaths of about 2.5 million children throughout the world every year, but they say measles still circulates easily in populations where enough people are unvaccinated.


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