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Children vaccinations and anti-vax movement. The consequences of rejecting vaccines



Many parents had been suspicious about the new vaccine long before the incident. Zoya Semakina, the mother of the 10-year-old school pupil is a proponent of vaccinations. But she had to file a written rejection from taking “diaskintest” - even though her daughter has had all traditional anti-tuberculosis injections.

Zoya Semakina, mother of third-grader: “We have had vaccinations before and did tuberculosis diagnostics. But “diaskintest” is a new vaccine – and I did not manage to find any information about its research. But when I found my diagnosis among possible side effects, I wrote a rejection paper and asked the clinic to cancel the injection”

Despite the official rejection of the vaccine and a whole bunch of test results to amplify the cause, including X-ray, the school’s administration accused Zoya of violating her daughter’s rights and cast the girl out of the class. For a whole week, the third-grader came to school and was put in a separate room, with a desk and a chair. Children’s ombudsman will investigate this story.

The tuberculosis test – which is conducted based on blood from one’s vein – has been gaining popularity. It is quite pricey – up to 6 thousand rubles – but there’s no effect to one’s body. The chemical reaction happens inside a vial. But not all schools and kindergartens accept that vaccine. A petition to Health Ministry was launched online – to implement this safe method officially. And it has already been signed by 5 thousand people. Doctors fear that the “diaskintest” scandal will launch a new wave of anti-vax sentiments. According to their estimates, close to 10 percent of St. Petersburg’s parents file rejections of vaccines. And only a half of them do so based on medical conditions.

The scale of anti-vax movement in the world can be judged by the recent antics of Robert De Niro. The actor promised to give 100 thousand dollars to a person who would be able to definitively prove that vaccines were safe. De Niro believes that his son became autistic after a vaccine – and even filmed a documentary about post-vaccine complications and corruption in this multi-billion-dollar industry. The kind of money that even Oscar-winning actors can only dream of.

Meanwhile, in the US, children of anti-vaxers are campaigning for vaccines. We asked a member of the new movement – Calena Medel – to tell us why American teenagers have had a change of heart regarding vaccines.

  • I am happy that teenagers made such statement. Because otherwise we would be forced to live in a world without injections. Where dangerous diseases would spread and harm people. It’s a pity that we cannot make our own decisions until the age of 18.

Immunologist Lidia Nereuts considers persuading parents to make vaccinations from the most dangerous diseases as her moral duty. There are complications among children with hidden health problems – which have not been detected in time – and those suffering from allergies. But its nothing compared to the consequences of rejecting vaccines.

  • The scariest thing is when children die from paralysis. I saw this with my own eyes when I worked at intensive care. Its not a pleasant sight to see parents who fear for their children’s lives when they bring them in with fever or food poisoning. You can immediately tell that those are anti-vaxers.

Russia’s only museum of hygiene – based in St. Petersburg and recently celebrated 100th birthday – has an entire hall dedicated to vaccinations. This figurine reminds us of a historic moment. English doctor Edward Jenner – who invented anti-pox vaccine – injecting his son. Soon after that, the salvation from the fatal disease was brought into the Russian Empire, upon the decree by Katherine the Great.

Vaccinations became a trendy phenomenon – and even those within the Empress’ circles who had gone through it in childhood, still opted for an injection. Thanks to the vaccine, the lethal disease was completely gone by the end of the 20th century. But in the 21st century Russia – largely thanks to anti-vaxers – measles returned. Which has been silent for several decades. According to the WHO, the number of infected in Europe is breaking all negative records – 41 thousand people.

In the digital age, the fight for and against vaccinations has moved from clinics to social media. Just a shortwhile ago, Youtube canceled monetization on all videos propagating anti-vax movement – essentially meaning that anti-vax propaganda wont bring you any money anymore. Game developers are also contributing.

Evgeniya Altfeld, reporter: “This game is called Pandemic. The favorite plot for modern horro movies. The story proves that reality can be scarier than fiction. Just remember that pox claimed 500 million lives – and then was gone after wide-spread vaccination. Every parent has the right to choose – whether to inject their children or not. But this choice affects not only their kids – but their friends and neighbors. And, subsequently, the rest of the world”.