A COUPLE OF WEEKS BACK I came out of a medical appointment to hear Dr. John Harding, a medical health officer with Vancouver Coastal Health, speaking on the CBC Noon hour radio program out of Vancouver.
His being asked to be a guest came about as the direct result of an individual with measles, having attended the Skookum Festival, and having been in a number of other locations that same weekend.
One thing that stood out for me came from a female caller to the noon hour radio program. She indicated she had received an organ transplant several years before, and was therefore at risk from individuals contracting, and becoming sick from, serious diseases they had not been vaccinated for. That is something I was not aware of, and I doubt many people are. So, what are the risks then for those who have had organ transplants I asked?
“These are challenging situations for people who cannot themselves receive vaccine because of reduced function of their immune systems. With organ transplants, patients must take life-long medications that suppress the immune system so that it does not reject the transplanted organ.”
This impacts more than just those who have received an organ transplant however, as I quickly found out, from Vancouver Coast Health.
“Other immune-compromising situations include HIV / AIDS and cancers requiring immune-suppressing treatments such as chemotherapy, which reduce their body’s ability to defend against infection.”
So, what of our anti-vaccer crowd … the ones who read on the internet that vaccines are bad. They infuriate me … well actually they infuriate most people with their stupidity … as another caller to the show exhibited. They said, their first child had been given the measles vaccine, and had been sick for two weeks. Because of that they deliberately chose not to put the ‘poisonous chemicals’ (as they called them) in their second child’s body.
Seriously … how can any educated person, in this day and age, ever come to that decision? Their first child is sick two weeks, but likely protected against weeks, or months, of serious illness, that their second child is now going to face should they become infected.
The fact of the matter is, most people that receive immunizations don’t experience any side effects other than a sore arm for a day or two. That’s it! I won’t deny it, nor would any medical personnel — no medication is entirely without risk … not even aspirin and cold medications. However, immunizations are among the safest of any medication, because they are distributed widely.
Tiffany Akins, from Vancouver Health, said to me,
“We track all side effects from immunizations through Public Health, whether they are expected or unexpected side effects, in order to ensure they (vaccines) are safe”.
She continued, “In any case, the risk of side effects from immunizations is extremely low, and must be weighed against the risks of getting the disease from which they protect us. In the case of measles, complications from the disease include deafness, brain damage, and death, especially of concern in young children.”
Side effect are extremely low … protects from getting the disease … disease CAN cause brain damage and death!
And yet, we have parents who were turned off of vaccines, following their child being sick after receiving an immunization. In fact, the two events likely were very well not related.
These parents, I guess, must feel they are better educated (or perhaps more knowledgeable) than doctors with years and years of training. And because of their knowledge, they are now seriously risking the health, and very life, of their second child.
As Ms. Akins indicated, “… there are several outbreaks of measles around the world that have resulted in dozens of deaths, which are extremely unfortunate given that we have an effective immunization to prevent these cases.”
I rage inside when I hear of any kind of outbreak of illness, that could have been prevented, and the situation is getting worse, rather than better, as these facts will attest. For a seven-year-old child, in the region which is covered by the Interior Health Authority (IHA), the immunization rate for measles last year (2017) was 80%. That compares to 89% five years earlier – almost a 10% decrease.
Going by what I have been told, that means 20 children out of every 100, are now at risk of serious illness … even death!
And, apparently according to that CBC radio program that Dr. Hardin guested on, it seems that even today anti-vaccers will refer to the now VERY debunked study regarding a falsified study linking autism and vaccines. Despite that, one caller to the program stated that while they weren’t scientists, ‘… with all the information out there, there had to be some kind of connection‘.
Good grief … there are some things that people should NOT be allowed to Google … vaccinations should be top of the list!
So how, if at all, can these people be reached?
“It’s an ongoing challenge to ensure that the public is informed as best as possible about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. I appreciate that each person is making decisions about their health, and the health of their loved ones, based on what they perceive the risks to be.”
“I also appreciate”, said Ms. Akins, “that having ready access to large amounts of information, that incorrectly attributes certain risks to immunizations, leads to a confusing landscape for people to interpret.”
“We are always looking for opportunities to discuss the concerns that many people have, recognize that they want to be safe and protected from risk as much as possible, and to offer evidence-based information on both the diseases and the immunizations available.”
Families wept uncontrollably at the death of a child years ago, when no medications were available to prevent serious illnesses. Today those medications – vaccines – are available, and yet some parents willingly risk the very lives of their young ones. If find it incredible to think that through their foolishness, they would allow the opportunity for that to happen.
While the following is information for the United States, it follows that it would hold true for Canada as well.
“In the decade before 1963, when a vaccine became available, nearly all children got measles by the time they were 15 years of age. It is estimated 3 to 4 million people in the United States were infected each year. Also, each year, among reported cases, an estimated 400 to 500 people died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 suffered encephalitis (swelling of the brain) from measles.”
That means it would be safe to say that 40 to 50 Canadian children died every year, just from measles, prior to vaccinations being available … never mind being hospitalized and suffering greatly from their illness.
FACT: The Center for Disease Control states that measles remains the leading cause of vaccine preventable infant mortality… DEATH!
FACT: Parents are responsible for their child’s health and well-being, including protecting them from vaccine-preventable diseases.
FACT: Measles can cause brain-swelling which can lead to brain damage or death
FACT: Mumps can cause permanent deafness
FACT: Meningitis can lead to permanent deafness and / or brain damage
FACT: Polio can cause permanent paralysis
FACT: There is no excuse for putting a child at risk, by not vaccinating them
What is the leading cause of any of the above happening to young children? Well in my opinion it’s is nothing less than stupidity and or ignorance.
In Kamloops, I’m Alan Forseth, and I hope you’ll join the discussion on this, or any other topic presented here. Do you agree … disagree? Post your thoughts in the Comment Section directly below.
Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident and former member of the Reform Party of Canada and the B.C. Reform Party, and a past and current member of the BC Conservative Party. His blog is My Thoughts on Politics and More.