In the US, UK and Australia, right wing governments are bad for your health. It’s not just the Republican party, working to increase the numbers of uninsured Americans and increase costs to the rest, presiding over more “deaths of despair”. It’s British Tories, ending the growth of life expectancy.
British vaccination rates are decreasing because of the Tories. Last month the Prime Minister, BoJo the Clown, pledged to take on the anti-vaxxers, goading social media companies to fight their propaganda.
However people don’t trust social media as a source of health information, and the companies already take action to make anti-vax posts less visible. As so often, Tories seek a good headline rather than action to improve things.
Hard line anti-vaxxers are a tiny minority. Anna Watson, founder of a facebook anti-vax group, talked of their weariness and despair at social media clampdowns. More numerous are the fence-sitters, who have not come to a decision. The responsibility for making health decisions for your children is heavy. Health information has been poor. There are risks in vaccines. Instead of telling people they should vaccinate, it is better to say there are risks in vaccines, but not vaccinating is more risky.
However the biggest group who don’t vaccinate actually believe vaccines are healthy and reasonably safe. They are parents who face barriers to making appointments. GP appointments are harder to get, and fit in to the diary. GPs don’t chase up unvaccinated children.
In 2015, the decline in vaccination rates started along with Tory reforms to the NHS which made way for privatisation along with other harms. They placed some health responsibilities on the increasingly underfunded local authorities, and lost immunisation expertise. They cut the number of health visitors by 25%.
Overstretched parents simply find vaccination too difficult.
Anti-vaxxers may be unreachable. They cherry pick scientific studies, and have a false self image as knowledgeable, like many internet conspiracy groups. Decent health spending and proper organisation preserves herd immunity to disease. An eye-catching pledge to ask social media companies to do what they are already doing does not.
The Chancellor, Sajid Javid, boasted that after no deal Brexit there would be no excise duties to pay on cigarettes and alcohol bought by travellers. It’ll make your cash “go that little bit further,” he said, as if he did not realise how far the pound has sunk against the Euro. At the same time the health secretary planned some work against excessive drinking, the chancellor was undermining him. Deaths of despair are on the rise here too.
In Australia, parents are texted after vaccinations, and can reply with observed side effects. Listening to people’s concerns increases trust in the system.
Vote Labour. Save the NHS. Save the economy from Alexander “fuck business” Johnson. Vote for the chance of a Brexit which won’t damage Britain like Tory Brexit will.