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Clinton Brown


Cartoon Analysis

20 October 2017

Recent on the Outbreak of Measles: Analysis of the Political Cartoon

Measles, as has been accepted and known all over the world, is one of the deadliest

diseases we know which can be prevented through vaccines. Around fifteen years ago, a claim

was made by The United States that they had managed to eradicate measles through their vaccine

program. However, the whole country is in a state of fury after over a 100 cases have risen up

from the Disneyland of people suffering from measles. The constant decrease in the rate of

vaccinations, especially of MMR, Measles Mumps Rubella, amongst children is the main reason

to have contributed to this outbreak. As per a report by the CDC, Centers for Disease Control

and Prevention, it is crucial to have 85-90% of the population, at the minimum, vaccinated to

have the immunization be effective in protecting against the diseases. It has been speculated that

the rights of the parent to be exempted from the vaccine program based on the personal, moral or
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philosophical grounds is the main cause behind many children going unvaccinated. This has led

to the outbreak of this deadly disease which was easily preventable through vaccines(Gambino).

In the light of the anti-vaccine attitude of many parents, Michael Ramirez, the cartoonist who has

won Pulitzer Prize twice has drawn a cartoon. He has highlighted the controversial anti-vaccine

mindset of parents responsible for this measles outbreak crisis in his cartoon. It demonstrates two

bottles of vaccine with one having the label of parental ignorance and a second one of MMR II

vaccine; the needle which is lying beside has rings which look like cuffs. Ramirez has used the

symbols rather boldly, including the usage of red color for the labels of both the vaccine bottles,

the syringe with cuff-like-rings, and the two bottles among which the parental ignorance one is

shown first as well as in a bigger size.

Ramirez here has used the color red rather boldly to label the bottles of vaccines so as to

signify their deadly nature of not only the disease but parent’s ignorance too. the color also helps

shed light on the importance of vaccines in medical history for being the tone of the most

important medical advancement for their effectiveness a life-saving nature. Millions of children

across the world today are safe from these preventable diseases because of these vaccines.

Measles is the deadliest disease in the categorization of the rash/fever for children, as per CDC.

Luckily, MMR II vaccine has proven to be quite effective in preventing MMR, without any

reports of it causing major health issues since its initiation. The minor pain and anxiety

experienced by a child due to these vaccines is reason enough to convince some parents to not

get their children vaccinated.

Moreover, the ignorant stance of such parents has been portrayed creatively by

handcuffing the syringe, lying helpless beside the two bottles of vaccine. Here, the dreadful

results of skipping the vaccine based on the prejudiced minds of such parents, who demand that
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their children be exempted from the vaccine on philosophical, personal, and moral grounds. The

claims of MMR II causing ASD, Autism Specter Diseases, seems to have no scientific grounds

(AAP). The cufflinks help explain how people can be misled due to their ignorance to take

unbiased decisions

Lastly, by making use of the two vaccine bottles and the larger one for the ignorant

parents, he has stressed on the immediate need to create awareness in the parents who are

prejudiced while making the politicians discrete. There is a need of time to go beyond petty

politics and prejudiced beliefs. Ramirez stresses upon parents to accept the gifts of modern

sciences, and not have some misleading reports make them biased. Indirectly, he has also taken

a dib at the need to repeal the vaccination- exemption program on personal, moral or

philosophical grounds.

Through this cartoon, we have once again gotten to see the brilliant work of Ramirez who

is an expert at making powerful cartoons. By making use of red color to symbolize the serious

consequences of measles and the ignorance of parents. By making an efficient use of size and

shapes he has succeeded in emphasizing the significance of parental discretion when it comes to

vaccines. On the whole, he has been able to send his message successfully across the audience in

order to get the children vaccinated.

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Works Cited

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). “Facts for Parents about Vaccine Safety.”

March 2008. Web. 20 October 2017.


Gambino, Lauren. “Measles outbreak: doctors see tighter 'philosophical' vaccine exemption as a

fix.” The Guardian 05 February 2015. Web. 20 October 2017. <


Ramirez, Michael. “Needed Vaccines.”[Cartoon]. US News 20 October 2017. Web. 20 October

2017. <>.