Vaccination and Comedy

Posted on 06 March 2015

Every year the Melbourne Comedy Festival includes thousands of performers who are joking away in front of hundreds of thousands of audience members. With these numbers of people gathering together for four weeks, we are living in germ soup. Invariably the majority of comedians I know come down with a cold, the flu, or some other infection.

Given its topicality no doubt people are going to be making jokes about anti-vaxxers. They will be villainised as the most evil stupid people around. Look at how they are exposing MY child to deadly illnesses. It is completely true that these people are playing a dangerous game. They also feel endangered by their culture which has been regularly feeding them toxins tucked in their foods or hiding in ill-regulated pharmaceuticals.

Before judging these people take a look at yourself. Have you as a comedian booked in to take flu shots before the comedy festival? Or have you assumed that you are young and healthy, no need to bother or spend money on flu vaccination.

Every year 250,000-500,000 people die from the influenza virus, mostly children and the elderly. I worked with an accountant who when she was on the dole, her child contracted the flu. Because they lived in the country and didn’t have the means to bring the child into the hospital for a high fever, he suffered from brain-damage—a permanent injury. Who would this child have been if he hadn’t caught the flu during a difficult time in this woman’s life?

During the American Civil War 620,000 people died in the line of duty, that’s more deaths than any other war in US history. During WWI Australia lost around 60,000 people to military deaths and in WWII around 40,000. During WWI the United Kingdom lost around 800,000 people. The Spanish Influenza in 1918, the Asian Influenza in 1958, and the Hong Kong Influenza in 1968 each resulted in a million deaths world wide.

Before you stand in front of a room full of people do your best to ensure you aren’t spreading a potentially fatal disease. It may be an inconvenience to you, but it could be so much more to someone else in your audience.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine


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