'Now footy players join the covidiot anti-vaxxers'
We are currently fighting two pandemics, one against COVID-19 and another against stupidity.
#Covidiot is a trending hashtag because apart from wreaking havoc across countries, lives and economies, the coronavirus has brought out the howlers across the globe.
There is of course President Donald Trump's idea to "inject" disinfectant into the lungs to clean them, and let's not forget celebrity chef Pete Evans' $15,000 "light recipe" machine to treat "Wuhan coronavirus".
Then there's 5G conspiracy touted by celebrity covidiot Woody Harrelson that somehow radiofrequency waves caused the pandemic and of course Bill Gates is behind a plot to depopulate the world even though his philanthropic work has saved millions of third world kids from vaccine preventable diseases.
But it is the image of extreme right wing doomsday preppers, the gun toting, often toothless "Mountain Dew mouth" armed militia men adorned with flags, semiautomatics and grenade belts standing side-by-side with hippy dippy anti-vaxxers that seals the ultimate covidiot for me.
They are worlds apart, but one of the same: conspiracy theorists. They wake up every day to a world they truly believe there are secret and sinister plots by powerful, rich people out to do harm and everyone is in on it except the "woke". Anyone that disagrees with them, far from being rational, normal human beings, are sheeple.
Conspiracy theories, by their very nature, do not have enough facts to prove themselves true. Just like a viruses, they hang in the limbo land of fantasy and until someone picks it up, feeds them with more misinformation, and lets them replicate across social media platforms around the world.
But now we add to the covidiot mix the intellectual might of the Aussie footy player who somehow knows more than the entire international scientific and medical community.
Bryce Cartwright refuses to get the flu shot, which most of us do to protect the more vulnerable in society. Influenza can kill the very old and the very young, so it is part of our collective duty to do what we can. As we are now doing by social distancing to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.
Cartwright said on social media that he is not an anti-vaxxer.
"I stand for the freedom to choose what goes into our bodies, I am pro-choice, pro-informed consent and pro-medical freedom," and was incensed to be called such.
But of course he is. He is on the record of choosing not to vaccinate his children. That makes you an anti-vaxxer and there is no point trying to hide behind the "pro-choice" line.
We all remember when wife Shanelle posted on social media how shocked he was when she first brought up the idea of not vaccinating their kids.
"Then he read the package insert and a few pages of Dr Suzanne Humphries books and saw vaccines under a different light," she wrote.
Dr Humphries is an American homoeopath. Homoeopathy is shaken water with the "memory" of a pathogen i.e., completely useless.
Humphries also claims measles is a mild disease, but you only have to look at the recent tragedy of Samoa to know it is, still, a child killer of ruthless efficiency in the unvaccinated.
I find it incredible that people choose to believe an outcast like Humphries over the enormous weight of scientific fact.
The 2019 Samoa measles outbreak began in September 2019 at a time when vaccinated levels were less than 40 per cent. There were over 5,700 cases of measles and 83 deaths, mostly in children under the age of five.
Since the massive vaccination campaign brought levels up to 95 per cent, there have been no more cases and no more deaths.
We know that other footy wag Taylor Winterstein visited just before the outbreak and had planned to spread her anti-vaccine nonsense as well. In my view, she, and the entire anti-vax movement, played a role in that tragedy.
Now, if we all did what the Cartwrights did and not vaccinate our children, Samoa's tragedy could very easily happen here, but 94.8 per cent of five-year-olds in this country are now vaccinated.
Most of us do the right thing by our kids because who in their right mind would risk something like measles, tetanus, whooping cough, or diphtheria? And because most of us do the right thing, we have herd immunity, and that means things like measles cannot get a foothold in society because most of us are immune to it, in fact, it has been eliminated in Australia and the rare cases we see fly in from overseas.
The Cartwright's "proof is in the pudding", "healthy children" are not the result of not vaccinating.
They are protected from ill health because the rest of us have done our collective duty and provided safety in the herd.
The rest of us have also accepted that the tiniest risk of an adverse reaction (less than one in a million for the measles vaccine compared to one in 1000 chance of death from measles) is worth it. They are riding on our backs. It is indulgent, it is selfish and it is ignorant.
It's okay to question vaccination, in fact many of us do when we have our children, but to ignore the overwhelming evidence on safety in favour of the loud nonsense from fringe dwelling outcasts is just plain stupid.
Get your flu jab Bryce, because your mates are doing the right thing for the greater good. And get your kids vaccinated.
Originally published as Now footy players join the covidiot anti-vaxxers