Politicization and consequences

Vaccine uptake and public health are widely studied with decades of research and practice in countries like the Netherlands and Scandinavia yielding consistent results. Don’t politicize public health, don’t coerce, focus on increasing access, aim to educate, don’t shame people.

This led to the Netherlands having one of the highest vaccination rates in the world despite not actually requiring vaccines. The government published clear and honest information about all of the standard childhood vaccines, including rates of adverse effects. Lo and behold, it worked.

Then came COVID. Public health became embroiled in partisan politics, thereby eroding people’s trust. To anyone following, it’s clear things didn’t go as planned with the COVID vaccines considering that multiple vaccines are no longer offered due to safety concerns.

And here are the results:

  1. Child vaccination rate in The Hague dangerously low”
  2. Measles outbreak in Eindhoven, 14 children and one adult ill
  3. Whooping cough killed four babies in last six weeks: RIVM

These are illnesses for which safe and effective vaccines exist, but because the waters have been so muddied parents are confused.

It’s all too easy to blame this entirely on right wingers. But that’s not the full story. When I talk to woke” people and casually mention that prominent Democrats played up refusing to take the Trump vaccine”, people think I’m delusional. I show them videos. They change the the subject. Groupthink is a powerful drug.

For example: Kamala Harris and Andrew Cuomo. And here’s Donald Trump praising the vaccine.

To be clear, none of this is meant praise the right wing, Trump, or absolve parents not getting their kids the standard childhood vaccines. My point is that the climate that has made this very real vaccine crisis possible is the rabid polarization of vaccines and virtue signaling thereof by the left. And given the influence of American politics everywhere these days, kids in Holland are suffering because of partisan politics in the US.

I don’t have any solution. The toothpaste is out of the tube, so to speak. There’s no going back to 2019. It will take public health authorities decades to regain the trust they lost during COVID.

Incidentally, one of the right wing parties in the Netherlands is proposing a law that would give daycares the right to refuse unvaccinated children. Unfortunately, this is probably the only reasonable way forward.