Nine Shot Dead Trying To Administer Polio Vaccines In Nigeria And I Can’t Believe Some U.S. Parents Still Refuse To Vaccinate

shutterstock_48547438Nine female health workers trying to administer the polio vaccine were shot dead in Nigeria on Friday. It’s a horrifying deja vu of the murders in Pakistan in December, which also killed nine female polio workers. Women are risking their lives to help eradicate this awful disease in the few countries in which it remains.  At the same time, more and more American parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children – or putting them on potentially dangerous “delayed” schedules.

From the New York Times:

A four-day vaccination drive had just ended in Kano State, where the killings took place, and the vaccinators were in a “mop-up” phase, looking for children who had been missed, said Sarah Crowe, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Children’s Fund, one of the agencies running the eradication campaign.

No one immediately took responsibility, but suspicion fell on Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group that has attacked police stations, government offices and even a religious leader’s convoy.

Polio once paralyzed millions of children. Through vaccinations, it has been almost fully eradicated. There are only 1,000 known cases around the world, and it is endemic in just three countries: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is progress. This is science. I’m not sure how anyone could possibly refute that.

Every time I write a story about vaccinations and my belief that they are necessary – there is always at least one comment that claims that we live in a developed nation and have the necessary medical resources to come to the rescue if our children fall ill. I don’t understand this argument. Diseases like polio have been eradicated because of successful vaccinations. Why deny your child that? Why regress?

The only thing I know for sure is that brave people are dying to give children in under-developed countries the same advances in medicine that we take for granted every day. That is a shame. Turning your back on medical advances that save the lives of children is tantamount to child abuse in my opinion. And it’s a slap in the face to every health worker that risks their lives so children can be healthy.

(photo: Wallenrock/

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  • CW

    What does the tragedy in Nigeria have to do with parents choosing to follow a delayed/selective vaccination schedule? Not all vaccines are created equal. A easily spread, often-fatal disease like polio is very different than something that cannot be spread via casual contact (like HPV) or one that is rarely serious (like chickenpox).

    • Deb

      Herd immunity only works if the vast majority of the herd is vaccinated. If you don’t vaccinate your child for chicken pox, not only are you risking their lives, but the lives of every immuno-compromised person in your neighborhood, not to mention the elderly, inform and chronically ill.

      Your child deserves the protection the vaccines provide. As a child I had chicken pox and it not only developed on my skin, but in my throat and my lungs as well. I ended up nearly dying of pneumonia at 5.

      Chicken Pox is a very serious infection. Fact check before you make assumptions it isn’t. It can and does kill.

  • bumbler

    “hundreds of children died today from dehydration and US parents still bathe their children nightly in enough fresh, clean water to save a village.” We live in different worlds (ie, the 1st world and the 3rd world, so to speak), and this is comparing apples to oranges. If you want to talk about the disparities between the US and Nigeria, a couple of people being shot is pretty damn far down on the list of messed up sh!t that’s going on there daily. Kind of petty to make violent crime in Nigeria the fodder of US mommy war BS.

    • Guerrilla Mom

      Skipping vaccinations isn’t “mommy war bs” it’s a public health issue.

    • Makabit

      The comparison doesn’t hold up. Not vaccinating is more like giving your child dirty water to drink even though you have clean in the tap.