Bill: "Dudes, we gotta tell you something. There's like this disease or something that's coming and it is truly gnarly. They call it Black Death or the Plague or some sh*t like that, and it can kill you. No B.S. it can like wipe out half the population of Europe. Whole cities will turn purple and die.
Ted: You catch it from these teeny-tiny things called bacteria that you have never heard of and can't even see. But we have these science bros that know all about them. And the cool thing is they have invented this thing called a vaccine that they stick into your arm. It's nasty and might make you puke for a day or two, but if they shoot it into you, you won't get all plaguey and die. It's worth a try, isn't it?"
Village Elder: "Meh."
150 million people succumb to the Black Death.
Etaples, France. Fall of 1917. Two Dr. Whos suddenly appears in their TARDIS time machine. The mayor of the town approaches them in wonder.
Dr. Who #1: "I say, you don't know me, but I am a time lord and like to wander around the universe helping civilizations, or 'civilisations' as I like to call them. I know you are in the middle of a very brutish war, lots of people and horses killed and all that. And I know you are dealing with poison gas, and rain and mud. But we are here to warn you about something completely different."
Dr. Who #2: "It this virus, you see. It causes a dreadful flu that can spread rather quickly. It's a tricky little bugger, it can even send a healthy ex-soldier to the nether world. People call it the Spanish Flu, but it is quite as deadly to you Frenchies, and you know the Brits and Yanks can get it too. But we have the antidote, or rather, the protection against it. It's called a vaccine and a quick dab in the arm and people can sneeze all over you and you won't catch the flu at all.
Village Mayor: "Meh."
Almost 100 million people die in the Spanish Flu epidemic
America. Spring of 2019. Dedicated researchers have created vaccines that have wiped out smallpox. Other serious infectious diseases such as polio, chickenpox, mumps, measles and German measles can be nearly eliminated through worldwide vaccine programs.
Anti Vax Promoters: "Meh."
From January 1 to May 10, 2019, 839** individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 23 states. This is an increase of 75 cases from the previous week. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000. (https://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html)
Why can't we learn?
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