Vaccines critical to healthy populations

It was just about a year ago that B.C. had to deal with an outbreak of measles, with about 100 cases popping up

It was just about a year ago that B.C. had to deal with an outbreak of measles, with about 100 cases popping up in the Fraser Valley. This year, it’s Ontario’s turn.

Though it’s still a common disease in many areas of the Third World, the once common childhood ailment is rarely seen in Canada these days. There is one reason for that: vaccinations.

Complications from measles include ear or respiratory infections like pneumonia, and in extreme cases, brain inflammation, blindness and deafness or, rarely, death. Measles accounted for 500,000 deaths worldwide in 2000. Mass immunizations have drastically reduced that figure. By 2012, the number of measles deaths dropped by 80 per cent.

But the number of children being vaccinated is shrinking — many parents willing to risk their children’s health, and that of others, by refusing to have their kids vaccinated.

More than 15 years ago, a British doctor, Andrew Wakefield, suggested the measles vaccine, long proven safe, might cause autism. His study has long since been found inaccurate. Yet, with the help of the Internet, the scare has been perpetuated and more. Experts are concerned people who refuse one vaccine may be spurning others, setting communities up for outbreaks of other dangerous diseases like diphtheria and whooping cough.

The typical course for common measles, especially with modern medicines, is relatively mild. But why put your child through even that, and put others at risk, for misplaced fear of a simple vaccination? While we don’t advocate mandatory vaccination, we do advocate relying on the advice of doctors and other reliable sources rather than misplaced faith in the veracity of the Internet.

Remember, you don’t have to be an expert in anything to set up a website.

– Penticton Western News

 

Salmon Arm Observer