Monday, August 25, 2008

Childhood Immunizations

Recently there have been several reports about parents, who are not immunizing their children against childhood diseases. One parent, interviewed by NBC, stated that she felt that contracting the disease was less danger to the child than the immunization. Apparently, this mother has been reading too much junk on the Internet. In addition, she had the advantage of having had the immunization as a child, and, therefore, escaped the diseases.

As a child of the fifties, I didn't have that distinct advantage of having access to immunizations for measles, mumps, whooping cough and rubella. Although I don't believe I ever had whooping cough, I certainly had the others, and they were not the picnic this mother apparently believes them to be. She has, obviously, never seen a child with whooping cough. A more miserable child, I have never seen. Note this description from :

After about 1 to 2 weeks, the dry, irritating cough evolves into coughing spells. During a coughing spell, which can last for more than a minute, the child may turn red or purple. At the end of a spell, the child may make a characteristic whooping sound when breathing in or may vomit. Between spells, the child usually feels well.

I would never want my child to have to go through this, if it can be prevented. I had rubella when I was about 13 years old. I don't want it again. My mother said I was miserable with mumps as a small baby. Most of the time there are few complications, but death and serious complications may result. The real problems come when one of these diseases is contracted when one is an adult. They are much more serious and more often cause long term damage and death.

I wonder if this mother and the other parents who refuse to have their children immunized, would also reject smallpox and polio vaccinations. Smallpox vaccinations are uncomfortable, but I would much rather have the vaccination than the disease. The same goes for polio. Unfortunately, as more and more parents refuse vaccinations for their children, some of these childhood diseases are making a comeback. This spells danger for so many children.

It is great that these young parents never had to experience the childhood misery of these diseases because their parents saw the need to immunize them. At the same time, it is also very unfortunate that they never knew a time when these diseases were rampant. Because of their ignorance and unnecessary fears, and their irresponsibility, they will cause us to step backward into the "good old days" which, as we baby boomers know very well, weren't always so good.

1 comment:

That Baptist Ain't Right said...

You're right: she probably was reading too much junk on the internet. As great a tool as the net can be, it is only as good as the user. Goofy user, goofy conclusions.

We don't have all the answers but the one answer we do have is that we can fix a large problem for the overwhelming majority of folks.

Good post.