The topics are wide open. You can post about a particular cause you support. Or you can share a personal or family experience that is near to your heart. What’s great about this Blogfest is you can inspire people to take care of themselves and their loved ones early enough to make a difference in their lives.
I've chosen the simple topic of preventing multiple childhood diseases through immunizations. Immunizing your children can - and does - prevent the spread of deadly/debilitating diseases such as polio, pertussis (whooping cough), mumps, measles, diptheria, pneumococcal, hepititis A and B and yes, even the mostly harmless chicken pox that later causes painful shingles in older adults. (google any of the listed diseases to see the severity of symptoms)
During my work in social services I encountered many many parents - especially very young parents - who opted not to immunize their children for various reasons; the least common due to religious affiliation. Most cited that it was not worth the 1/whatever-hundred-thousands risk of death that taking the vaccine for diseases that have been eradicated in the US may cause.
The Canadian based VRAN.org has several articles that state VRAN: knows many cases of children severely damaged or dead due to vaccinations. In the 1980’s, paediatrician Robert Mendelsohn, MD voiced his concern: “There is growing suspicion that immunization against relatively harmless childhood diseases may be responsible for the dramatic increase in autoimmune diseases since mass inoculations were introduced.
This article by the CDC disagrees: Like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects. The most common side effects are mild. On the other hand, many vaccine-preventable disease symptoms can be serious, or even deadly. Even though many of these diseases are rare in this country (USA), they still occur around the world and can be brought into the U.S., putting unvaccinated children at risk. The November 11, 2013 Boston Globe health and wellness article also reflects the CDC opinion with:
While there are rare side effects, medical researchers say the risk of not vaccinating is much greater. Other than smallpox, which has been eradicated, most diseases unseen for decades in the United States — from measles and mumps to Hepatitis B and rubella — still exist somewhere in the world. In October, the United Nations identified an outbreak of polio in Syria, where UNICEF reports that 95 percent of children had been vaccinated before the civil war started in 2011. In the past two years, hundreds of thousands of children have gone without immunizations.
“They’re only a plane ride away. And every year the number of kids getting exempted (from vaccines) grows,” said Dr. Lawrence Madoff, director of Epidemiology and Immunization for Massachusetts. “When immunization rates fall, it doesn't take long, even in a developed country, for diseases to resurge.”
A recent ScientificAmerica article reports:
Last year 10 children died in California in the worst whooping cough outbreak to sweep the state since 1947. In the first six months of 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 10 measles outbreaks—the largest of which (21 cases) occurred in a Minnesota county, where many children were unvaccinated because of parental concerns about the safety of the standard MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella. At least seven infants in the county who were too young to receive the MMR vaccine were infected.My kids are mostly grown and I'm a grandmother now, but when I was starting my own family in the
These troubling statistics show that the failure to vaccinate children endangers both the health of children themselves as well as others who would not be exposed to preventable illness if the community as a whole were better protected. Equally troubling, the number of deliberately unvaccinated children has grown large enough that it may be fueling more severe outbreaks. In a recent survey of more than 1,500 parents, one quarter held the mistaken belief that vaccines can cause autism in healthy children, and more than one in 10 had refused at least one recommended vaccine.
This sad state of affairs exists because parents have been persistently and insidiously misled by information in the press and on the Internet and because the health care system has not effectively communicated the counterarguments, which are powerful. Physicians and other health experts can no longer just assume that parents will readily agree to childhood inoculations and leave any discussion about the potential risks and benefits to the last minute. They need to be more proactive, provide better information and engage parents much earlier than is usually the case.
I'd advise my daughter to give it to her kids, if she had not made her own decision to immunize. I guess my personal philosophy is I'd rather my kids (and grandkids) take the minimal risk of death (or have a severe reaction) from the vaccine than get infected with a preventable disease, and possibly infect others. Immunizations save immensely more lives than they take.
Thanks for reading my contribution to the SURVIVE AND THRIVE BLOGHOP. If this post, or the idea of the bloghop itself, has inspired you to write your own post, or to visit other participants, check out the linky here.