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Riley Hughes was born a healthy baby boy on February 13, 2015 in Australia. Three weeks later, he contracted whooping cough, and a week after that he died in his parents’ arms.
Riley’s parents want to use his tragic story to tell the world that whooping cough could be eradicated in Australia and elsewhere if everyone decided to vaccinate both themselves and their children and continued to get booster shots every 5-10 years.
So they started a Facebook page called Light for Riley, in which they ask for people to remember Riley and get vaccinated. It’s an amazing thing for these parents, who are still grieving the loss of their child less than two months ago, to turn their loss into something so positive for the world.
And as inspiring as their actions are, equally horrific and depressing are the actions of the pro-disease, anti-vaccination crowd who have rushed to flood Riley’s parents with epithets, accusing them of spreading “bullshit” lies and inciting hatred.
This isn’t really surprising, as the Australian anti-vaccinationists are particularly vile. The Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network, formerly known as the Australian Vaccination Network before they were forced to change their name to stop misleading people, posted this horrific ad on Facebook recently, in which they compare vaccination to rape because it’s “forced penetration.”
If you’ve ever had a vaccination, and I hope you have, I’m sure you already know how disgusting and ridiculous that assertion is. If anything, it could be compared to a forced pinch on the arm. A forced pinch on the arm that keeps you from dying. And keeps babies from dying. And keeps immunocompromised people from dying. And gets you a sticker and sometimes a lollipop afterwards.
So once again, please get your pertussis booster shot! And if you’re so inclined, “like” the Light for Riley page on Facebook and show Riley’s parents a bit of support against the ignorant hordes.