Don’t be a dolt, get your kids vaccinated. Vaccines do not cause autism. They are not more harmful than they are good.
I understand the reluctance to have children vaccinated. Sort of.
There seems like no imminent threat. Few mothers under 40 – maybe even under 50 – know anyone who has ever had the mumps or measles, much less anyone who has ever been permanently disabled by them or died.
Authorities might as well be warning against a return of the Medieval Black Plague.
Then there is the fact that public health authorities have cried wolf far, far, far too often – SARS, swine flu, bird flu were all vastly overestimated.
During the 2014-16 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, the venerated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States warned that 1.4 million people would contract the disease, worldwide, including hundreds or even thousands in North America.
The final toll was bad enough – over 20,000 – but it was a tiny fraction of the number public health officials had scared the public with. The number of Ebola deaths in the U.S.? Two, both of whom had contracted the disease in Africa.
Then there is all the pressure to get the annual influenza vaccine because it is your duty to your fellow citizens. Telling some people (like me) that they have to do something because the government thinks it for the “public good” just rubs them the wrong way.
Now add one part parental hysteria, a cup of media hype about every new medical report (most of which later turn out to be nothing) and a pinch of conspiracy theory (it’s all just a plot by big pharmaceutical companies), toss it all in a little celebrity-advice marinade, and you have the anti-vax recipe.
So I see how come some parents get to the point where they’re dubious about getting their kids vaccinated.
However, one of my earliest memories as a toddler is of getting my “shots.”
My mother (who was as big a Big Government skeptic as I am), nonetheless dutifully lined up at the old Medicine Hat public health clinic on immunization day to have me vaccinated because, back then in the early ‘60s, every family knew some other family with a child who had died or nearly so, or been disabled by one of the diseases that vaccines have now all but eradicated.
Those diseases are no less virulent than they were back then. When they strike, they are no less deadly. It’s just that vaccines have been so effective in keeping them at bay that parents today don’t even think about measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and smallpox.
A 43-year-old El Al flight attendant is currently in a coma in an Israeli hospital because she contracted measles while in New York last month. Her own immunization boosters appear to have been inadequate when she came in contact with an infected person.
That’s how serious getting the disease can be, almost instantly.
To be sure, such severe cases are uncommon. (Let’s not create another over-the-top public-health panic.) Millions have contracted measles, exhibited mild symptoms and survived well.
But uncommon isn’t the same thing as rare. The threat is real and these diseases are highly infectious.
Don’t be dumb, vaccinate.
I don’t believe in compulsory infant immunization, but I do believe schools can keep unimmunized children out, as can municipal recreation facilities.
No shots, no public swimming, for instance.
You shouldn’t be compelled to have your kids immunized. But, equally, no other parents should have to have their kids exposed because of your personal choices.
If you feel strongly that vaccination is wrong, be prepared to stand by your convictions and home school.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019