The good and bad of childhood illnesses

Wed Mar 18 12:46:45 EST 1998

I am one of the intellectuals who you apparently look at with disdain.  
I think I can get over that.  However, I have a real problem with 
those who advocate stopping vaccinations against "childhood" diseases.  
Most people living in developed nations have never seen the effects of 
these diseases first hand.  Have you or any of your friends seen first 
hand a child with paralytic polio?  Maybe you have, but I would guess 
probably you haven't.  How do you think a child would feel who 
survives paralytic polio, but with permanent paralysis, knowing that a 
vaccine against the disease was available, but his parents opted 
against it?
While it is true that an intial vaccine does not provide lifelong 
immunity, it does offer considerable protection to the vaccinee.  
Then, as the vaccinee encounters the disease at a later date, the 
exposure provides a natural booster which provides several more years 
of protection. Part of the problem is that the current vaccines are so 
effective in preventing infection, that these natural booster effects 
may not occur, and immunity does wane.  But does this mean that we 
stop vaccinating?
On the other issue you raised, do I need my child to be sick to show 
that child compassion?  I would rather spend quality time with my 
healthy children playing and teaching, and learning together, then to 
stand vigil by my sick childs bedside wondering if he will survive the 
bout of tetanus he contracted from a fall in the dirt outside (which 
you probably have also never seen, since every child is vaccinated).  
Which would you rather do?

Jay Mone'

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