On May 23, a 6-year-old child developed strange symptoms which landed him in a local hospital only days later. Less than one month after this, the boy had lost the fight and succumbed to the disease. The most troubling part of his death, however, is that it was completely preventable. Anti-vaxxer groups had convinced the boy’s parents that he did not need vaccinations, and now as the family grieves, they’ve admitted that they were tricked by those in the movement.

Boy Dies From Not Being Vaccinated
When he became symptomatic, the young boy was taken to a Spanish hospital where tests revealed he was suffering from diphtheria. This would typically be surprising considering the fact that the entire country of Spain hadn’t had a recorded case of the disease since 1987. Sadly, thanks to the pseudoscience of the anti-vaccination movement, the child’s parents had opted not to have him vaccinated for the disease.

It’s not as if these parents are the only ones who have made this decision in the country. Spain’s diphtheria vaccination rates rest between 90 and 95 percent, but this was high enough for the disease to be declared eradicated in the country back in 1986.

After the boy’s disease was discovered, health officials in Catalonia, a community in Spain, tested other children in the area. Eight other children were found to be infected with the diphtheria bacteria.

These youngsters are alive, though, because their parents had them vaccinated. This prevented them from developing the disease. Studies have shown why it’s so difficult to convince anti-vaxxer parents that they’re wrong, and sadly, it sometimes takes these tragic outcomes to show them the light.

Parents ‘Tricked’ By Anti-Vaccination Movement
Authorities only refer to the 6-year-old child as “Pau,” and by June 9, it was reported that Pau was being kept alive by machines. Physicians tried to treat him by administering an anti-toxin, but Spain actually had to fly in the treatment from Russia because they didn’t have any in the entire country — because they hadn’t needed it in so long.

After Pau came down with the illness, his parents changed their belief process on the anti-vaccination movement. In fact, they’ve agreed to have their younger daughter vaccinated. A health official from the area, Antoni Mateu, spoke of the family’s regret:

“The family is devastated and admit that they feel tricked, because they were not properly informed. They have a deep sense of guilt, which we are trying to rid them of.”

And while there’s no doubt that these parents were tricked, it doesn’t absolve them of any responsibility. In all honesty, the blame rests far more on the parents than the anti-vaxxer groups. While these groups disseminate unproven and falsified claims, it’s the parents who should be smart enough to make a better decision for their child. One author wrote of anti-vaxxer parents in her community:

“I would love to dismiss my daughter’s friends’ parents as uneducated, crazy and selfish… But they’re not like that at all. Unfortunately for those who want children immunized, many vaccine skeptics are the opposite: Smart, caring, well-educated and well-read.”

In reality, though, that’s not really the case at all. If you did amazing in school, went to college and still believe anti-vaccination theories, you’re not smart. “Many parents who don’t vaccinate have invested hours and hours into researching vaccines,” said another writer. Funnily enough, though, it took all of three minutes of research for me to discover that the “researcher,” who essentially began the anti-vaccination movement, had been paid to do his research by those who stood to get rich if vaccines really were dangerous.

This “researcher,” Andrew Wakefield, would also have gotten filthy rich if currently used vaccinations were thought to be dangerous. This is because he had his own MMR vaccine alternative in the works, as reported by BMJ (formerly known as British Medical Journal). Seems like pretty good motive to link MMR vaccines to autism.

Three minutes. Not an exaggeration, but literally three minutes is what it took me to discover this information. Yet “hours and hours” of invested time researching vaccines online, and anti-vaxxer parents couldn’t find this essential and potentially life-saving information?

It’s not that they’re uninformed; it’s that they don’t want to be informed. And sadly, this misguided drive to be considered “smarter” and “more savvy” than the medical community at large will lead to deaths. Heck, it already has. And unless we mandate childhood vaccinations everywhere, once-eradicated diseases will continue to pop up and kill innocent children whose only crime was being born to delusional parents.

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