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.

Six Top Vaccine Myths

Myth 1: It’s not necessary to vaccinate kids against diseases that have been largely eradicated in the United States.
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).

U.S. Adults Dying of Preventable Diseases

Diseases easily preventable by adult vaccines kill more Americans each year than car wrecks, breast cancer, or AIDS.

“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.

Bill Gates’ war on disease, poverty is an uphill battle

Millions of children in developing nations die from diseases like pneumonia, measles and diarrhea that claim twice as many lives each year as AIDS. Vaccines prevent these basic illnesses.

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 VaccinesPoor Reporting and Unfounded ImplicationsGates Foundation and Rotary Pledge $200 Million to Fight PolioEngineering Mosquitoes to be Flying Vaccinators

7 Responses to “Vaccines Can’t Provide Miraculous Results if We Don’t Take Them”

  1. Anonymous
    June 28th, 2010 @ 8:47 am

    That is true. There are many parts of the globe that children or people die due to noncompliance of vaccination. Although it can be prevented, still, due to inadequate resources, many people die. Anyway, these countries are making the most to promote vaccination and health. Government officials are also making extra effort for this, not unless they want people to continue getting sick to what supposedly can be prevented. Still, prevention i better than cure.

  2. Sam
    June 29th, 2010 @ 9:21 am

    Great article! And thank you for the link that debunks some of the myths surrounding vaccines. I have a friend who’s pretty opposed to vaccinations and a news article might convince her more than me telling her the same things. Though, as wrong as most of those myths are, I can at least understand how someone might not want vaccinations due to those concerns. It’s the parents that refuse to vaccinate their kids to spare them the discomfort of a couple of shots and risk them having to deal with the consequences of a disease like polio for the rest of their lives that really drive me up the wall.

  3. david
    July 1st, 2010 @ 5:02 am

    Well vaccinations do seem like a skeptical option to many considering the rising possibilities of unhygienic use of needles. However, that does not support the point of parents keeping their children away from such treatments and in turn increasing the probabilities of them suffering from dreadful diseases like polio.

  4. mikem
    July 3rd, 2010 @ 11:27 pm

    I think Bill Gates’ foundation made a few missteps by using a live attenuated polio vaccine, instead of the more expensive dead vaccine we use in the U.S. The consequences of that were that a very small percentage of children can develop polio from the attenuated vaccine, leading mothers standing out front of vaccine clinics with their polio stricken children warning other mothers not to have their children vaccinated. (The attenuated vaccine also lead to polio being brought back to Minnesota not to long ago, due to international travel. That is, international travel and a foreign vaccination using a cheaper vaccine actually caused a small outbreak of polio in Minnesota among a religious sect who are generally opposed to vaccines.)

    Bill Gates’ goal was to vaccinate more children by using a cheaper vaccine, saving more of them, even though it meant a very small number of them would get polio from the vaccine. But in the end it may not have been the best marketing decision, even if it made sense on paper.

    One other point, for the sake of discussion: not all vaccine preventable diseases are equal. Chicken pox is not, for example, in the same league as polio or small pox. And indeed, there is an argument to be made that the CDC recommended chicken pox vaccine may lead to more harm for children, both vaccinated, and not, later in life, since it is so difficult to get infected with Chicken pox compared to when I was a child, and the consequences of getting chicken pox later in life are much more severe.

  5. alex
    July 8th, 2010 @ 10:26 pm

    I agree completely that we need to get vaccines. Wish more people would embrace getting them, as they are such a good preventative medical option.

  6. Scientific Illiteracy Leads to Failure to Vaccinate Which Leads to Death » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    July 27th, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

    The failure of our society to appreciate the value of science has dire consequences…

  7. Refusal to Follow Scientific Guidance Results in Worms Evolving to Eat Corn Designed to Kill The Worms » Curious Cat Science Blog
    March 26th, 2014 @ 3:46 am

    An understanding of natural selection and evolution is fundamental to understanding science, biology, human health and life. Scientists create wonderful products to improve our lives: vaccines, antibiotics, etc.; if we don’t use them, or if we misuse them, it is a great loss to society.

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