Monday, April 13, 2009

Taking One For The Herd

Spend any time at all reading about vaccines and you’ll hear over and over again about Herd Immunity. You’ll read that your children should be vaccinated for the benefit of “the herd.” The herd is a fancy way of saying “everybody else”. You hear people say vaccination choice is a first world luxury. It is. That’s why I live here. If I didn’t, I’d exert every effort to get to the first world! The reason vaccinations are a first world luxury is because #1. We have access to clean water, soap and good sanitation! Rates of disease drop dramatically once people have consistent access.

#2. Modern medicine: I have access to hospitals, trained doctors and specialists, lab tests and antibiotics. In the comments posted after that “Momversation” I read over and over again the comment “vaccinate or die.”

Really? . . . That’s your argument? At best, that argument shows a lack of understanding over what spreads disease and what modern medicine can do to treat it. In many third world countries that lack access to clean water, medical treatment, and sanitation that is the case. But in the first world it’s different. Even under the unlikely scenario that every single person in the US stopped vaccinating their children our rates of death would not approach the rates in third world countries because conditions here are different.

Regardless of what we hear about vaccine rates dropping the CDC director of the immunization services division Lance E. Rodewald, MD “says vaccination rates are still high among young children in the United States. ‘Coverage has never been higher, and we want to keep it that way.’"

But what happens when someone is damaged by a vaccine? I’ve read the "sad but necessary” newspaper articles. They reference the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program but that program tends to be more theoretical for most injured people.

I’ll tell you what happens after your child takes one for this herd. After your child is damaged to benefit the herd, the herd complains about how much this damaged member’s education and care costs them. They complain that you want to much and that you’re inconvenient. They like to give you disapproving looks in stores if you have the nerve to take your child out in public. And their children are cruel to yours.

No one from the herd has ever stopped by my house and said “thanks” before dropping off a check.

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