The country is in the midst of an epidemic. Although the measles virus was considered eradicated in the U.S. in the year 2000, recent anti-vaccination ideologies have caused a resurgence in the dangerous disease. When 18-year-old Ethan Lindenberger testified before the Senate Committee regarding his decision to get vaccinated against his mother’s wishes, he cited various Facebook groups as the origin of her anti-vax beliefs; she was a victim of “deeply rooted misinformation” online.
In response to this very public issue, Facebook has committed to cracking down on the individuals and organizations present on the platform that spread this misinformation.
“If a group or Page admin posts this vaccine misinformation, we will exclude the entire group or Page from recommendations, reduce these groups and Pages’ distribution in News Feed and Search, and reject ads with this misinformation,” Monika Bickert, vice president of global policy management, explained.
At the same time, the social media giant is going to be rejecting and removing ads that contain false facts about vaccines. If ad accounts continue to spread misinformation, Facebook stated it will disable the account. Facebook has promised to do the same for Instagram, which it owns.
Vaccines are estimated to prevent more than 2.5 million deaths every year. Despite the overwhelming consensus among scientific and medical communities that vaccines are both effective and safe to use in the prevention of potentially deadly diseases, anti-vaxxers continue to lobby for their right to opt out of routine vaccinations. This behavior has led to one of the largest outbreaks of measles the country has seen in decades: Clark County, Oregon, has one of the lowest vaccination rates at just 78% due to its many permitted personal exemptions. More than 70 cases have been documented since January, and the number continues to rise.
Fortunately, vaccines are incredibly accessible to those who wish to receive them. Temperature control is essential for these delicate inoculations; doctor’s offices are able to keep them stored in laboratory refrigerators and scientific freezers, and even pharmacies are stocked with laboratory freezers and pharmaceutical refrigerators. If you’re looking to get vaccinated, all you have to do is stop by these establishments; considering the fact that many developing and third-world countries do not have access to laboratory freezers and medical refrigerators, we should be grateful we have so many within reach.