Tapati (tapati) wrote,

The bad old days...before vaccines

Saw this in a thread about the California whooping cough outbreak:


Most Americans are too young to remember the effects of infectious disease on children in our past. As a child in the 1940s and early 1950's I can clearly remember the summer floods of kids coming down with polio and being crippled for life. The bouts of pox that would leave a child's face scarred for years afterwords. The kids who would be in class one day and next week we would be told by the teacher that they had died due to some infectious disease for which we now have a vaccine! I can remember my fifth grade class, where I had three children in class with me wearing braces for the rest of their lives because of polio and of one girl in particular whose face looked like a close up picture of the moon's surface due to pox. The times when the whole school would be closed due to a measles outbreak in the city. Such outbreaks of infectious disease were common and the main way to prevent their spread was to close the schools before the disease started to spread among the children. In this day and age, for a child to come down with polio or any one of a number of diseases that has a vaccine for it, I believe the parent who failed to have their child immunized should face criminal charges of child neglect and abuse. You may all be too young to remember what infectious diseases used to do to the children of this country. But a quick look around the internet at history will give a cruel lesson in how bad things could become again if parents refuse to vaccinate their children. Even if we were to lose 1 child out of 10,000 due to side effects (the number is far less than that now), it would be far better than losing hundreds to the direct effects of these contagious diseases!



@ Hermotimus: Indeed, people nowadays don't appreciate how much vaccination has done for us. The proportionately minuscule number of children who experience adverse side effects to vaccines is far outweighed by the number of children saved. Take this hypothetical example: would you prefer to take a 0.001% risk that your child has a severe reaction to a vaccine, or the 10% risk that he/she has becomes critically ill from that disease sometime during childhood? Replace severe reaction/critically ill with "death". Any way you look at it, the numbers are in favor of vaccination. Unless you have a sound medical reason--i.e. immunocompromised, etc.--not vaccinating is flat out wrong.

Vaccination also provides herd immunity, but herd immunity is based on both the percentage of people vaccinated as well as how transmissible a disease is. For something like measles (or is it mumps?), the disease is so infectious that very nearly 100% vaccination is required to achieve herd immunity. It is a testament to the dedication of doctors and scientists that we have been able to largely eliminate these diseases in our nation. Don't undo their work by refusing vaccination on flimsy, circumstantial evidence.
Tags: health

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