Friday, July 17, 2015

The Vaccinate Debate

Wide spread use of vaccinations of our children, and more recently adults, has been a “hot topic” on the news lately with the spread of a measles outbreak from my old hang-out, Disneyland.  Obviously Disney has nothing to do with the outbreak.  The park is only a place where lots of kids hang-out, some without the vaccine for measles and others who are contagious with the measles virus.  Vaccines for deadly diseases have been used extensively since Dr. Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine in 1952 and Albert Sabin licensed the oral vaccine.  As a child we all got the sugar cubes with the polio vaccine on it thus eventually eradicating the deadly disease with only 223 cases worldwide in 2012.  My mother was a registered nurse and when one of the other kids in my neighborhood got the measles, mumps, chicken pox, etc, she made sure that we went down to their house to play with him so that we would get exposed, and thus be immunized as an adult.  With that as my history I find the news coverage regarding the measles outbreak to be interesting.  The 170 kids in California with the measles outbreak would have been matched on my block alone in the 50s with all the moms exposing their kids when “Johnny” got the measles.  Today there is definitely controversy with the possible side effects of vaccines (including Autism) possibly caused by a mercury based preservative called Thinerosal that has been removed from all vaccines since the late 1990s. There are many studies that show that these concerns regarding side effects were always unfounded, yet the rumors persist.  There are also religious and moral obligations to the very nature of vaccinations.  To comment on that aspect is well beyond my pay grade.  However I will say that if you are making a choice for your child, remember that you may have to deal with the consequences as a parent if your child is the one that gets the disease if he or she is not vaccinated.  Please carefully consider the risks, benefits and alternative treatments (RBAs) closely before making your decision to vaccinate or not to vaccinate your child.

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