With measles cases on the rise, vaccination is a trending topic right now — literally. Yesterday, Voice of America elevated the issue on its show, “HashtagVOA,” with APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin leading the public health discussion.
The science is clear, according to Benjamin.
“I think you recognize the fact we all care about our kids and the best way to protect our kids is to give them their vaccines,” ” Benjamin said. “We care about kids. We don’t let them drive without a seatbelt. We wouldn’t let them play out in the middle of the street with busy cars. We wouldn’t let them be exposed to infectious diseases that are communicable, so they ought to get their shots.”
The show, hosted by Cal Perry, examines one “raging debate on social media,” and recent measles outbreaks — 644 cases were reported in 2014 and more than 100 new measles cases have been reported in 2015 — have expanded into a polarizing conversation about the importance and necessity of vaccinations. The discussion has even been politicized, as former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have shared their opinions on Twitter.
Benjamin joined Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Senior Advisor Stephen L. Cochi and National Vaccine Information Center President Barbara Loe Fisher on the show’s panel.
“I believe if people are well educated and follow the science, we’ll have higher vaccination rates,” Benjamin said. “Science has to be the winner. But if you just have science hanging out there, and you don’t have parental trust in that conversation, you’re not going to accomplish anything. So it’s trust and science partnering together to do something to protect our kids.”
APHA is a strong vaccines advocate. Check out our vaccines page, including fact sheets for kids, teens, adults and seniors. And find out more about the current measles outbreak in our Storify, “5 things to know about measles right now.”