Yesterday yet another (poorly formatted) piece ‘debunking’ a number of vaccine myths was posted to nbcnews. With such help, no wonder so much bullshit about the reality and impact of vaccination or lack thereof continues to spread online.
And yet, I can help being appalled that there are still people who, with a straight face, argue about the science behind vaccination. It seems to me that there is reckless disregard for the health and general well being of other people, when families can decide not to provide their children with all the protection that scientific and technological advances have made so readily available.
Because those non-vaccinated children do not live out their lives in a vacuum.
They go to school. They go to the park. To after school activities. To the mall and the grocery store.
If one of those children contracts measles or other easily preventable disease, he or she may come in contact, during the incubation period and before symptoms manifest, with children or adults with suppressed immune systems for whom those diseases may well be fatal.
I do understand that no one cares to be called selfish, but honestly, isn’t it selfishness not to consider how your child’s health concerns can affect others? It may very well be that your child contracts measles and has very few symptoms and no consequences. Lucky him or her, yes, though you could not have known this in advance, and are therefore playing Russian roulette with your own child’s health.
And how about any other children or adults who come in contact with your family, whose defenses may be compromised? Shouldn’t you care, even if just a bit, about them too?
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Deirdre Saoirse Moen has posted this, and I left this comment on her blog.
I was born and raised in Mexico, and many of the vaccines my children were required to get in order to attend school here in the US were not available for people of my generation (born 1966). I saw first hand the effects of polio in people of my generation. In college, one of my classmates had very limited use of his legs, and another was fully paraplegic, both due to having contracted polio as children.
Three of my four siblings had Hepatitis B, the other one had Hepatitis A. All four of my siblings had varicella and measles. For reasons unknown, perhaps because as the youngest I was exposed to all of these at different times in infancy and early childhood, I never contracted any of these–and was never vaccinated.
I clearly remember my fear when I was pregnant (living in Puerto Rico) (1988) when my gynecologist realized I had never been vaccinated for measles, mumps or rubella. There were no guarantees I would not get it–there were several cases reported at the time.
As soon as I could after my son was born, I got all the shots–and did it again upon moving to the US. Because I don’t want anyone else to live through that fear, not knowing when a trip to the grocery store will put them in contact with someone who is infected if asymptomatic, with long lasting, potentially fatal consequences for the baby they carry.
So yes, please, get your children vaccinated, get your own shots up to date. For everyone’s sake.
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Also, please do keep in mind: vaccination does not cause autism; autistic people have been with us for a long, long time. Until very recently we didn’t have specific words to describe the wide range of autism, but that doesn’t change the fact that people have been people, with our many similarities and differences, for dozens of thousands of years.