From 24 to 30 April, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the campaign on the theme #vaccineswork with the aim of improving vaccination coverage around the world as well as to combat denial of the effectiveness of immunizations.
In an interview with Sky TG24, Professor Alberto Mantovani, Scientific Director of Humanitas, spoke about vaccines and fake news.
“When we hear that vaccines cause autism, we must know that it is false information that the health of children in our country and around the world has been damaged by it. The first vaccine against fake news is to be informed by authoritative people. On such sensitive and important issues as the health, the authority of the sources is fundamental – added the professor – to guide our choices. There have been many fake treatment episodes smuggled in for real in this country and the price has been paid by the patients. This is one of my great”.
The reason for talking about vaccines again
“Talking about vaccines and doing it properly, based on scientific data, is still very important,” especially at a time when we try to deny the effects of vaccination and when someone “tends to forget the whole reality,” explained Professor Mantovani.
He added, “We should always remember those 1500 children with cancer in our country who have the right to be protected”.
So in the debate we must not forget the weakest part of society.
In support of vaccines, there are numbers: according to the World Health Organization vaccines, throughout the decade we are living, they are saving and will save 5 million lives a year. And if one of the objectives of the Research and Medicine is to have vaccines capable of fighting and preventing the cancers, it would be good to use the potential of vaccines that exist to date: “There are a number of preventable diseases, such as measles and rubella, just to name a few – said the professor -; remember that 1/4 of women exposed to the rubella virus in pregnancy will have malformations to the foetus. The vaccines help us to prevent a number of diseases that we have forgotten and we have forgotten precisely because vaccines in recent years have been effective”.
Over the last few years, after a worrying period of reduction, now the percentages of people who are vaccinated have finally increased; for this reason, according to Professor Mantovani, the reintroduction of the “law on compulsory vaccination has worked”. “If we lived in Sweden or the Netherlands there would be no need for compulsory vaccination, because the vaccination coverage is 98%. In Italy, unfortunately, as we had planned, we witnessed the return of the diseases that we no longer considered as measles”, which last year had more than 2500 cases of measles and 8 deaths (source: Istituto Superiore di Sanità).
“Vaccinating children – concluded Mantovani – is like putting them in the car on the seat and fasten the seat belt, and we also fasten it to those 1500 children with cancer who do not have that belt”.