Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Vaccination War

Source:  www.google.com

This is the 21st century right?  When it comes to vaccinating children against diseases some parents have slipped back to the 19th century.  

What is so horrifying is that measles had been eradicated in this country back in the the year 2000, but now an outbreak in Disneyland in Anaheim, California has brought back this horrible childhood disease.  From California, the measles have traveled to approximately 30 other states in the U.S.   Today, we have more than 100 cases of measles in the U.S. and that number is rising every day.

How did this happen?  We have parents who are refusing to have their children vaccinated against measles and other virulent diseases.  They wrongly believe that vaccinations are causing autism in children.

This theory has been debunked for nearly ten years now.  The study made of vaccinations causing autism has been proved to be wrong and the doctor conducting the study has been stripped of his medical license.  The science says vaccinations of any kind do not cause autism.  

So why are upper middle class soccer moms and dads,  supposedly well educated, not believing the science which proves vaccinations do not cause autism or any other kind of mental illness?  Why are these parents violating common sense when the CDC announces that vaccinations are needed to stop the rampant rise of measles and that the vaccination does not cause autism? The CDC states that it is because of vaccinations that many childhood diseases have become rare or completely eradicated.

How in the 21st century have some parents, fearing the worst about vaccinations, harm innocent children that cannot have the vaccine, those under one year old and those children suffering from cancer?

When do the personal rights of parents take precedent over the best health of the entire nation?  

Now this vaccination conundrum has become political with President Obama urging parents to have their children vaccinated, and with presidential hopefuls Rand Paul and Governor Chris Christie (NJ) weighing in that parents should continue to have the right to make the decision as to whether their children are vaccinated or not.

Governor Chris Christie's stand on this issue puzzles me because he was adamant that Kaci Hickox be quarantined for the Ebola virus when she returned from W. Africa as a nurse with Doctors Without Borders fighting the Ebola virus there.  Why does he now believe it is the parent's decision as to whether to vaccinate their children when measles are much more contagious that the Ebola virus?   And, those with measles or those who have been in contact with someone with measles and not vaccinated, should be quarantined.  Why is Christie not calling for quarantines now?

Every child should be vaccinated to prevent illnesses to the child and to other children especially those unable to be vaccinated because of age or illness.

Here are diseases that have been stopped by vaccines and which parents who do not vaccinate their children are putting those children and others at risk:

Measles is a viral respiratory disease which causes a fever, cold-like symptoms and a body rash.  The serious complications of measles include pneumonia, deafness, permanent brain damage and death.  A vaccine against this disease was licensed in the U.S. in 1963 and before that year there were up to four million illnesses and five hundred deaths each year from measles.

Pertussis or whooping cough causes violent, uncontrollable coughing.  The vaccine for this sometimes wanes and booster shots are recommended.  Widespread vaccination began in the 1940's and before then 200,000 children were sickened each year and approximately 9,000 died.

Mumps cause swollen salivary glands and are usually a mild illness that includes fever and muscle aches.  Complications of this disease include deafness and meningitis and are seen more in teens and adults.  This vaccination was licensed in 1967 when nearly 200,000 cases occurred annually nationwide.  Today, only 1,100 cases have been reported.

Rubella or German measles cause a rash and fever and is most dangerous if caught during pregnancy.  The complications of this disease are birth defects in the baby.  The U.S. vaccination for this disease began in 1969.

Diphtheria is a bacterial disease which causes neck swelling and thickening in the throat that causes breathing problems.  Diphtheria was a common cause of death and illness in the U.S. before the vaccination which began about eighty years ago.

Polio, which can be life threatening, causes flue-like symptoms and paralysis.  It has been mostly eliminated in the U.S.  A vaccine became available in the U.S. in 1955.

Tetanus or lockjaw can be a deadly disease that causes tightening of the neck and jaw muscles that makes swallowing difficult.  A vaccine was introduced in the U.S. in the 1930's.

Hepatitis B  is a liver attacking virus that can lead to liver failure or death.  There were almost 3,000 cases reported in 2012.  Vaccinations for this disease began in 1982.

Varicella, or chicken pox, has diseased approximately four million people in the U.S. and caused at least one hundred deaths each year before a vaccine was introduced in 1995.

Human papillomavirus or HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infection throughout the U.S.  Some types of this virus can cause cervical cancer, anal cancer and oral cancer.  A vaccine for this virus was licensed in 2006 for girls and women aged nine to twenty-six and in 2009 for boys and men in that age range.

Why parents would not want to protect their children from these life threatening diseases is beyond me.

Should these vaccines be required for all children?  I think so.

Source:  Akron Beacon Journal, February 7, 2015.