Kids used to die from diseases that are now preventable. Many of these diseases, such as measles & whopping cough were almost eradicated until a dishonest doctor published an article in the once reputable medical journal “The Lancet” blaming vaccines for autism. Crooked lawyers and opportunistic politicians jumped on the bandwagon. Measles is now endemic in England. California recently suffered a whooping cough outbreak that made 7,800 people sick & killed 10 babies.
This is a story with real heroes and villains. The obvious villain is “doctor” Andrew Wakefield and other researchers who used bogus data to reach dubious conclusions. Also villains are lawyers who quickly sued firms. Useful idiots are the parents who wanted to blame someone and maybe profit from their children’s suffering. I am not sure where all the celebrities and politicians belong. They may not actually be villains, but they are worse than useful idiots.
The problem is that this kind of thing happens all the time. Remember when Merrill Streep, in one of her best passionate acting voices, testified before Congress about Alar? Celebries look so good and seem so earnest that you might almost think they knew what they were talking about. Many people laid off their healthy apples for weeks or months. By the time the truth comes out, or by the time it is actually proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that even crooked lawyers cannot spin, the damage is done. It is especially fun for them to go after big firms, something like what is going on with Toyota, BTW, right now.
And one of the biggest threats to human health and safety is the ignorant attacks on the sciences of biotechnology and nanotechnology, but those are all subjects for other posts.
I had all my kids vaccinated against everything they might get. I made sure they got their meningitis shots before going away to school. I get my flu shot every year. I grew up just after polio was conquered. I remember people not much older than I was telling about the horrors. I got my immunization to chicken pox, measles and the mumps the old fashioned way, by getting the disease. I survived, but it is not a harmless thing.
You have to be pretty dumb to avoid vaccinations unless you have a specific medical reason – a real one, not one you got from the Internet. But those who avoid vaccinations are worse just dummies. They harm others. Not everybody can get vaccinated. People with compromised immune systems cannot, for example, but they are extremely susceptible to sickness. The chicken pox that just bothers you and me might kill them. They depend on all of us to NOT to be the carriers of the germs. If you bring measles or mumps etc among them, you might be killing some of these people.
Just be smart and take the jab. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for others. And if you won’t do it for others, go live someplace by yourself. You may both avoid the contagious diseases and avoid passing them to others.