July 17, 2013

Your ignorance will not save you, your denial will not change reality

 Iron Lung Ward, Rancho Los Amigos Hospital
Santayana had it right - "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
 Living in a time and place where childhood illnesses are seen as mild annoyances, treated with modern medicines. Where the flu means missing a few days of work, and taking a lot of remedies to feel better. Where the possibility of your child dying is an unthinkable horror, and your worries involve threats that are statistically nearly zero like random gunmen or kidnappings.
Medicine has undergone major changes over less than one lifetime. And has radically changed life expectancy and death rates of children as well as adults. 
We have only been able to vaccinate our children against polio since the 1950s. We have only had antibiotics since the end of WWII. There are vastly more pharmaceuticals available for both minor complaints and major diseases.
Generations that have grown up with this as the status quo take it for granted, of course. It is all we have known. Unless you have listened to stories told by elders or lived in a place that does not have the luxuries we have you can't really imagine what it is like to not have that medical infrastructure.
But deciding to reject the current advances, based on discredited theories and celebrity endorsements, is irresponsible, foolish, and damages not only yourself and your children but our society as a whole. You create a reservoir for diseases that we have worked hard to eradicate because they KILLED CHILDREN. LOTS of children. They killed adults too. But children and the elderly are always hit hardest by these diseases.
It is happening now. We hadn't seen whooping cough (pertussis) in ages. Med students had to learn about it in theory because everybody was vaccinated against it and cases just didn't happen anymore.  Today we are having pertussis epidemics breaking out with depressing regularity.
So - have some numbers. I think they give a feel for the scope of the problem currently:

Anti-Vaccine Body Count

And for a less strident and more informational link:

History of Vaccines
This is a project of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and has lots of great information in very accessible form. Not just history but also great current information.

Telling me, or your doctor, or the media, that you "don't believe" in vaccinations really means fuck-all. Your belief or lack thereof does not change reality one little iota. That applies to pretty much the rest of science as well.

No comments: