There's a terrifying story on Stuff (see link) about a family in New Zealand who opted not to vaccinate their children and then watched their 7 year old suffer for three weeks and almost die from tetanus. If you know me or have read this blog at all, you m ow that I am completely pro-vaccine.
Vaccines save lives. End of discussion. The only reason we actually have this debate at all is because vaccines are so effective. So effective that no one who is a parent today saw a friend die of tetanus or smallpox or become physically disabled from polio. Our parents did. My dad's friend H had polio as a child, and it stunted his growth and left him with a limp. But we didn't, because we were all immunized. That means we aren't scared of these diseases.
We should be.
|Child Suffering from Smallpox|
According to this article in JAMA, prior to 1947 there were a combined average of 10,433 deaths per year in the US from measles, mumps, polio, diphtheria, pertussis, rubella, smallpox and pertussis. In 2004, there were a TOTAL of 31 deaths from these illness in the US; 27 from pertussis and 4 from tetanus.
Holy shit. Without accounting for the massive increase in population in the US, this means that 10,402 people don't die each year because of vaccines.
The anti-vaccine fanatics will have you believe that because vaccines are so dangerous, we are actually no better off.
Here's the truth. In the US there are about 11,000 adverse reactions to vaccines reported each year. About 1600 of these result in hospitalization, and 220 result in deaths.
Hmmm 10,433 versus 220. Don't get me wrong, I'd much rather that vaccines had no risk - but nothing in life (especially medical procedures) are without risk.
Remember, public health is a game of odds, and the odds of saving lives are clearly on the side of vaccines.
Don't be an idiot. Vaccinate your kids.