Health

Melinda Gates Just Basically Told Anti-Vaxxers to Check Their Privilege

American women raising the banner for the anti-vaccination movement have met their latest powerful adversary: Melinda Gates. And she is not having any of their privileged nonsense.

Yeah, that's right: the reason, according to Gates, well-to-do types don't believe there's a need for vaccines, or that they're too dangerous? The fact that they've grown up in a world where they haven't seen first hand how fast, and deadly these viruses are — and how life-saving their vaccinations in comparison. 

"We take vaccines so for granted in the United States," Gates explained during a news segment on the matter for HuffPost Live on Thursday. "Women in the developing world know the power of [vaccines]. They will walk 10 kilometers in the heat with their child and line up to get a vaccine because they have seen death."

And trust: Gates would know first hand. Through her philanthropic work with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates has worked for years advancing the healthcare plights of developing nations — much of that having to do with helping people in developing countries obtain basic healthcare treatments and vaccinations. And for a bunch of diseases, too: HIV, malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and a whole host of seemingly innocuous diseases here that cause massive deaths in developing nations. Things like gastrointestinal disease — something that does little more than inconvenience the rest of us kills over 550,000 children each year. And yes: without vaccines things like diarrhea actually kill people in large numbers.

Diseases that, to our first-world eyes, are barely cause for concern. So, Gates claims, it's no wonder Americans have "forgotten what measles death looks like"; they don't see it and experience the realities of this like she does.

Heck, they're so passionate about vaccines they've even created The Art of Saving a Life, a collection that tells the stories not just of the people who have survived and thrived thanks to vaccines, but the countless, passionate, innovative scientists and other professionals trying to make the world a healthier place. (Perspective is everything, isn't it?)

And not having to experience the realities that others perilously face? That's what Gates — and we — call privilege.

"I'd say to the people of the United States: We're incredibly lucky to have that technology and we ought to take advantage of it."