One More Voice for Vaccination - Page 2
Why aren't we more afraid of these diseases? In 2002, the World Health Organization estimated that "1.4 million of deaths among children under 5 years were due to diseases that could have been prevented by routine vaccination." Thirty eight percent of those deaths were from measles. That's 532,000 children. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $10 billion over the next 10 years to deliver vaccines to the world's poorest countries, estimating that they'll save 8 million lives.
But that is "over there," right? In this country, we have easy access to vaccines but because we haven't seen these diseases up close in a generation, inoculation seems like a luxury we can forego. Our parents grew up knowing kids who were severely disabled by polio, but I sure didn't. Right now, the fear of autism looms so much larger than the threat of measles or whooping cough. Besides, we have good medical care here. When our kids do get sick, we have doctors who can help cure them. I can see how the choice not to vaccinate might seem like a good one.
Unfortunately, it seems we are going to learn the lesson the hard way. Last year in Minnesota, three cases of Hib, including a death, "were in infants whose parents refused to vaccinate them. Parents of two children objected to vaccines; the parents of the third child were waiting to vaccinate until the child was 5 years old." Even with the best medical care, these children did not stand a chance.
Still, you may think this is a personal decision, made between you, your family and your doctor. Think again. Mariah Bianchi lost her 3 week old son to whooping cough. "To hear about other people who are losing their children that are too young to vaccinate...These babies that are less than 3 months old that are dying never have a chance and it's up to the people around them to protect them." What if my unvaccinated child had exposed her to that disease? Wouldn't I be responsible for that person's death? We have a very clear social and ethical obligation to vaccinate our children, with exceptions only in the most extreme cases.Continued on the next page