Why Does Anyone Care Whether or Not Other Peoples' Children Are Vaccinated?
Unvaccinated People Affect Those Around Them
A growing number of parents are choosing not to have their children vaccinated against diseases. Maybe they never heard about the tens of millions who died or were crippled by diseases now mostly extinct in developed countries due to vaccination programs. Maybe they are unaware that even well-fed and well-cared-for children can catch diseases. Maybe they are frightened of vaccinations because they don't understand how much the benefits of vaccinations outweigh the risks.
Whatever the reason, an increasing number of parents in developed countries are choosing to leave their children unprotected from diseases easily preventable by vaccines.
Some parents are choosing to put their children at a higher risk for illness, disability and death by withholding vaccinations--- but why do I care? I've been immunized and all of the children I personally know and love have been immunized, so why should I care if some parents choose to put their children at risk by skipping vaccinations?
Unvaccinated people put everyone at risk for diseases. Not just unvaccinated people, but everyone. Keep reading if you want to know how they put all human beings around them at risk.
Have you ever noticed that flu shots are something that, when people get them, they tend to get the vaccination every year? That's because last year's flu vaccine doesn't really work for this year's flu viruses because those viruses have mutated. Given time and a whole bunch of reproduction, species mutate. Viruses have very short generations and multiply thousands and thousands of times in a single host.
Because few people die from or are crippled from the flu we've grown accustomed to, we don't work all that hard to eradicate it. The flu virus gets a chance to breed and mutate unchecked in millions of people so mutations are frequent. We fight these mutations in more deadly viruses by limiting a disease's chances to breed. Mass vaccination against current varieties of viruses works very well by closing off almost all of the possible places a disease can reproduce and potentially mutate.
When you decide to make your child into a breeding ground for deadly viruses you exponentially increase the chances of a mutation which will render the immunizations of all the people around him useless.
My eldest brother died in the sixties of a disease for which now there is a vaccine, Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (Hib) Meningitis. During the same outbreak, my father’s teenage cousin contracted the disease, was rendered profoundly mentally retarded, and died in an institution shortly afterwards.
Deaths in the United States Per Year Prior to Routine Vaccinations
600 Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (Hib) Meningitis
9,000 Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
6,100 Pneumococcal disease
2,100 Rubella (German Measles) (plus 11,250 miscarriages)
100 Varicella (Chickenpox)
263 Tetanus (Lockjaw)
5,000 Hepatitis B (These are current numbers due to people who got it before vaccines and still have it, pre-vaccination death numbers are unknown, but quite likely higher.)
Prior to routine vaccinations these diseases caused 39,133 deaths per year in the US alone, mostly among children. Some of these diseases also caused deafness, blindness, seizures, or mental retardation much more frequently than death.
People fighting cancer, organ failure, and other serious illness that life has thrown at them can and do die when they catch one of these so-called childhood diseases. They aren't called childhood diseases because they are kid stuff to fight, but because they used to kill children by the thousands in single outbreaks and affected almost every single family on the planet.
Not Everyone Else Is Immunized yet or Still
While everyone should be immunized, not everyone can be immunized nor can everyone produce the necessary antibodies to make vaccinations effective.
Infants cannot be fully vaccinated at birth as their immune systems are not developed enough yet and some vaccinations require a multi-step vaccination process because the immunity has to build over time. Nor can unborn children be vaccinated.
Elderly people may experience immune system deficiencies which don’t allow them to produce antibodies as they once did, rendering their immunizations less effective. People with chronic illnesses also may have similar immune system issues. Recipients of organ transplants are put on immune system suppressants for the rest of their lives and are extremely vulnerable to viruses.
A decade or so ago, those people were protected by the lack of unvaccinated people in developed countries to serve as virus factories. With around 5% of children in developed countries now going unvaccinated it’s no longer the case. A vaccinated child can bring home disease organisms from his unvaccinated classmates and infect his younger siblings both born and unborn or infect his ill or elderly grandparents with viruses their immune systems can’t fight off.
My older sister is hearing impaired and completely deaf in one ear due to measles contracted when she was too young to be vaccinated. These things were extremely common experiences before vaccination was commonplace. Nearly every family was affected by childhood diseases in some terrible way. It is strange how many people have forgotten this.
Woman Discovers the Dangers of Failing to Vaccinate the Horrible, Hard Way
An Excellent Resource Addressing the Immunization Panic
The Panic Virus explains the rise of the anti-vaccination movement and its inherent dangers telling both sides of the story and illustrating the clear need for life-saving immunizations.
Learning about the science, the deadly history of childhood illnesses, and the advances in medicine should help people understand why shots are important for disease prevention.
About Autism and Vaccinations
The single study connecting autism to vaccination was discredited due to unscientific methodology and reports written to fit a profit motive by preying on the parents of autistic children by offering unconventional and potentially dangerous treatment options created by Doctor Wakefield and associates. The very predatory intention and profit motive of the "study" should be enough to get people to question it.
Yes, more children are being diagnosed with autism. The percentage of children diagnosed with profound autism, however, has not significantly increased. Prior to immunizations, many more children became severely mentally retarded due to the effects of childhood diseases than are affected by profound autism now and the same percentage of children were still affected by it. As with any illness, having more severe effects on some and less severe effects on many more people, it's likely that many more children experienced mental retardation as a result of childhood diseases that was much less severe but still life-altering.
Even if vaccines caused autism, fewer children in America are being diagnosed with it each year than died each year due to childhood diseases.
Autism is obviously not something to casually dismiss. I know this intimately as I suffer with high-functioning autism and have had a very difficult life due to it even though it is considered the very mildest form of the condition. Even the high-functioning variety is no picnic. However, it is far preferable to be alive with my hearing, vision, and mobility intact than to be dead or severely mentally retarded. It's also better than having every family affected by death, blindness, deafness, mental retardation, or other disabilities caused by diseases preventable by vaccines.
There's no scientific evidence showing that vaccines cause autism and just as high a percentage of people had the profound version before immunizations became commonplace. I personally think, both due to numerous scientific studies presenting peer-reviewed scientific evidence and due to personal experience, that autism is inherited. I also think that just as many high-functioning autistic people existed prior to vaccinations, but that in a far less communication-dependent world, maybe they just weren't diagnosed. My father was one of them and he was just like me, without the label.
Even twenty years ago, one could get and keep a job without having high-level interpersonal communication skills and the ability to make people like you. All one used to need was a high level of proficiency performing a job and the ability to not seem like a complete jerk in an interview. Now high-level interpersonal skills are required in almost all jobs except for a few types of temporary manual labor positions. Once upon a time, even technical jobs didn't require skill at verbal dominance games, technical skill and job proficiency used to be much more important than the ability to please people in human resources departments.
If you don't believe diseases can kill children, I challenge you to look at your own family tree at least a few generations back. Compare the number of live births to the number of children who survived to adulthood and you'll have some vague idea of what living without vaccinations is like.
Sources for Facts and Figures Used in This Editorial
- Evolution of Surveillance of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella in England and Wales: Providing the Platfor
Explains the reasoning behind using an evidence-based vaccination policy.
- A Look at Each Vaccine: MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) Vaccine
Examines Measles, Mumps, and Rubella and their vaccines.
- What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations?
Explains what the death toll and other human costs of stopping all vaccinations would be like.
- Haemophilus influenzae type B (HiB)
Provides information about Haemophilus influenzae type B.
- Measles Vaccine
Provides information about the much-maligned measles vaccine.
Since the reality is that people are refusing to get their children vaccinated and they don’t care who else they endanger or don’t even understand they are endangering others, what can we do as damage control? Since we can’t interfere with a parent’s power of life and death over their own children how can we prevent their choices from hurting others around them?