Once again we are fighting enlightenment with ignorance. Great strides have been made in eradicating many childhood diseases. Our country was virtually free of whooping cough, chickenpox, polio, tuberculosis, measles, mumps, and many other diseases that devastated children and adults alike…and then we lowered our standards.
We began allowing children to enter public schools without being inoculated. We also invited people to enter the United States without checking to see if they carried communicable diseases. I welcome all immigrants who abide by our laws; I also respect everyone’s right to express his/her beliefs, but if they do not wish to inoculate their children they should home school them or create private education with other anti-vaxxers.
When we bend over backwards to try and please everyone we are bound to fall on our keisters… and so we have, vis a vis, the measles outbreak in Rockland and other counties.
There have always been “naysayers” but the emergence of so called “social media” has made it easier for people to air their half-truths and frighten the public. The misinformation disseminated by the internet has increased anti-vaccine believers not only for religious reasons but because they take for gospel everything they read on the net.
I remember the panic parents went through every summer trying to protect their children from ‘infantile paralysis’ (polio). I can still see us, my mother, father, grandparents, sister, and I lining up in our living room while our physician inoculated us with Dr. Salk’s miraculous vaccine. Science had freed the world from another devastating scourge.
I like to think of the 20th century as a dress rehearsal for the 21st. Albert Einstein expounding his theories; atomic energy used for good instead of destruction; men walking on the moon; reaching farther than ever before into realms of the universe. Robotics and computers both took their first baby steps and brought us into the electronic age. We are on the threshold of understanding more than Copernicus, Voltaire, and Leonardo ever dreamt of.
With science leading the way to a really brave new world the question is not should vaccines be used, but rather how many diseases can be eradicated and lives saved by using them.
For those opposed I have an assignment: look up the definition of “iron lung.”