Anti-vaxxers have been on the rise for a while now, you may just have noticed them more given the new Covid-19 vaccines finally making their way out into the population. In fact, the World Health Organization went as far as naming them one of the biggest threats to health in 2019.
In Wisconsin, where opting out of vaccines for medical, religious, or personal reasons is legal, there is a particularly high rate of parents choosing not to vaccinate. Across the US, around 2 percent of kindergartners are unvaccinated, whereas in Wisconsin around 5 percent have not received vaccines, according to a CDC report.
It was in Wisconsin that a group of "concerned moms" sent a letter to their neighbors, warning them about one family in the neighborhood who refused vaccinations for their children. In the letter that went viral on Reddit and Imgur, they write in strong language that people should avoid interacting with the anti-vaxxers for their own protection, and blames them for deaths around the US.
Dear Resident, the letter reads.
Your neighbor does not believe in vaccinating herself or her family. This puts anyone at risk if they are medically fragile, immunocompromised, or out of date in their vaccinations. Please use caution when sharing work or personal space with this individual, eating foods prepared by this individual, or attending gatherings at this individual’s house if you or the people who are important to you fall into medically at-risk categories. The unvaccinated pose a unique threat to infants, who often don’t yet have a full course of vaccinations completed, and can quickly become deathly ill or die.
People who are unvaccinated have caused outbreaks in Arkansas, Oregon, Washington, California, New York, North Carolina, Michigan, Virginia, Texas, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Florida, Minnesota, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, with more outbreaks expected. Nearly all outbreaks of disease were started by unvaccinated individuals, who pass along vaccine-preventable diseases to those without adequate protection.
People who don’t believe in vaccines often hold other views that are at odds with widely accepted facts related to science and medicine. Protect yourself, your family, and your community by using caution when interacting with these people. They have caused hundreds of thousands of vaccine-preventable diseases in recent years, costing several hundred million dollars around the globe, not including the costs associated with preventable deaths and disabilities. The outbreaks and subsequent deaths they cause are tracked here:
Thank you, and be safe.
Sincerely, Concerned Moms of Wisconsin
If you follow the link, it leads to a disease tracker that shows outbreaks of preventable diseases in your area over the recent years.
The letter received mixed reactions when it was widely seen on social media, with people believing the mothers did the right thing to protect themselves, their children and the children in their neighborhood, and others who thought they did the right thing but it was also kind of a dick move.
"Thanks, Concerned Moms of Wisconsin for I am a Concerned Child of Wisconsin," one person wrote on Imgur, whilst another agreed "sometimes, public shaming is the right way to go."
"The author of this letter is completely correct, has good reason to be concerned," a critic chipped in. "And is also an asshole."
Before long, Antivaxxers soon entered the conversation, to link to long-debunked myths that vaccines cause autism (they don't), highlighting why the Wisconsin residents were angry enough to send the letter in the first place.
A version of this article was first published on 04/01/2019