Vaccines Can’t Provide Miraculous Results if We Don’t Take Them
Posted on June 27, 2010 Comments (7)
Vaccine preventable diseases used to ravage our health. In the USA, we are lucky to live in a society where those before us have taken vaccines and reduced to very low levels the attack vectors for these diseases. If nearly everyone is vaccinated for polio, even if it crops up with one person, most likely it won’t spread. As more people chose to risk the health of others in the society by failing to vaccinate, an infection can spread rapidly. There are some people who can’t be vaccinated for one reason or another (normally dangerous allergies) and vaccines, while very effective are not 100% effective. So any person that fails to vaccinate their kids endangers society and those who cannot be vaccinated.
Reality: Although some diseases like polio and diphtheria aren’t often seen in America (in large part because of the success of the vaccination efforts), they can be quite common in other parts of the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that travelers can unknowingly bring these diseases into the United States, and if we were not protected by vaccinations, these diseases could quickly spread throughout the population. At the same time, the relatively few cases currently in the U.S. could very quickly become tens or hundreds of thousands of cases without the protection we get from vaccines. Brown warns that these diseases haven’t disappeared, “they are merely smoldering under the surface.”
Most parents do follow government recommendations: U.S. national immunization rates are high, ranging from 85 percent to 93 percent, depending on the vaccine, according to the CDC.
See the 2010 Child & Adolescent Immunization Schedules from the CDC and protect your children and society. The suffering caused by preventable diseases like polio and small pox was huge. We should not delude ourselves into thinking that those diseases are not dangerous. They are. We have been protected by all those taking vaccines. If people in the society don’t take vaccines that increases the health risks to the society at large.
Routine smallpox vaccination among the American public stopped in 1972 after the disease was eradicated in the United States. The United States government has enough vaccine to vaccinate every person in the United States in the event of a smallpox emergency (mainly due to concerns about bio-terrorism).
“We have a chronic disease epidemic in the U.S. It is taxing our families and taxing our economy,” the CDC’s Anne Schuchat, MD, said at the news conference. “We have a need for culture change in America. We worry about things when they are really bad rather than focusing on prevention, which can keep us out of the hospital and keep our families thriving.”
In other parts of the world the danger is not from those who chose not to vaccinate their children but those who are not provided the opportunity to.
AIDS was the disease getting all the headlines. But respiratory illnesses alone killed one-third more people in the world than AIDS. Worldwide, immunization systems were falling victim to bureaucratic infighting and donor fatigue. Common vaccines that could save millions of lives, often for just pennies per dose, were not making it to developing countries. Industry had lost interest in pursuing any new vaccines targeting Third World ills because of low profit margins.
“I had no idea,” the Microsoft co-founder said. “I learned a lot about the whole vaccine miracle, about how effective they are and yet millions were still dying from these diseases… So we decided, jeez, the impact we could have by getting vaccines to these children and getting more funding for research into new vaccines could be just incredible.”
In late 1998, Gates donated $100 million to create a program dedicated to getting new and underused vaccines to children in the poorest countries. A year later, he gave a stunning $750 million to help launch a new superstructure for improving childhood vaccinations, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) — a coalition of international public health agencies, philanthropists and the pharmaceutical industry.
Overnight, Gates was putting more money into vaccines than UNICEF and the World Health Organization combined. And he has since promised that global health will receive about 60 percent of the foundation’s grants for at least the next decade — a pledge of at least $5 billion over the next 10 years.
Bill Gates has done a great job investing in sensible solutions to make the world a much better place. We need more investment in intelligent economic and scientific efforts to improve the lives people lead.
Related: New and Old Ways to Make Flu Vaccines – Poor Reporting and Unfounded Implications – Gates Foundation and Rotary Pledge $200 Million to Fight Polio – Engineering Mosquitoes to be Flying Vaccinators