Sunday, March 30, 2008

"The vaccines scare us because the diseases don't. And they don't because of the vaccines."

One of the most compelling paragraphs I've read in support of vaccinations (read the entire outstanding article at

Leaving children unvaccinated means going back to:
  • Leg braces and iron lungs for people with polio (57,628 cases in 1952)
  • Encephalitis and sterility for people with mumps (200,000 cases a year in the 1960s)
  • Congenital rubella syndrome for children whose mothers contracted the illness during pregnancy.
  • Blindness, pneumonia, encephalitis, and death--one per thousand--for people wth measles (nearly 1 million cases a year in the US before vaccines).
  • Encephalitis and pulmonary hypertension for people with whooping cough--thanks to people who don't vaccinate their kids, in 2001, 17 people, mostly infants, died of pertussis (200,000 cases in 1940).
  • Cardiac arrest and paralysis for people with diptheria (207,000 cases and about 15,000 deaths in 1920).

The vaccines scare us because the diseases don't. And they don't because of the vaccines.

In class we had a professor tell us that we will encounter parents not interested in vaccination. I know some personally, so this was no surprise, but believe it or not this was news to some of the medical students in my class.

"Some of them you can reason with," the professor explained, "but you will have some parents that simply won't change their minds. For them, you can argue 'till you're blue in the face, but they just won't change their opinion. From personal experience, I've found that it's just simply not worth the time to try to change their minds - they just won't budge."


Tyler and Leah said...

Interesting article, scary stats - I posted about this topic on my blog (talking more about the Autism/vaccine link) because we had to work through it after having a kid.

Hope you enjoyed your Brain and Behavior block - I heard it was a doozy!

Andrew Clogg said...

We've been getting a lot of vacines for our baby girl and we heard opinions from both sides. And yes, i heard this phrase verbatum: "vaccines make your child autistic." Very interesting read...

Amelia Ames said...

My kid's pediatrician in his mid sixties lost his older sister to the measles. I bet you can guess his stance on vaccinations.

My husband got all of his vaccinations, but he and his siblings still got the mumps because they lived in Japan. Apparently the US mumps vaccine didn't cover the Japanese version? Anyhoo, no impaired fertility on is part.

Amelia Ames said...

Ok, must clairfy, he lost her when he was a kid, but I added mid-sixties as his age to show that it was pre-vaccination times. Sorry.

Dreaming again said...

I post about this periodically.

My husband, born in 1955, didn't get the polio vaccine. He will probably not live to see his grandchildren.

We almost lost him last year. 45 days in the hospital ... but he lived. The ironic thing was just a few weeks before he went into respiratory failure from the post polio, I'd posted for Grand Rounds that this wasn't the 1950's anymore because of vaccines.