Sondag, 25 Oktober 2009

Declaration for Vaccination

A few years ago I read about the 1918 influenza pandemic. I stumbled into a truly gripping book on the present day search for the historical virus (this book has Eskimos, adventurers, and edge of your seat science).

Like so many historical events, it turns out my family was shaped by that epidemic. My grandfather, a young child of missionaries, was traveling back to Egypt after time in the United States. In New York, waiting to disembark on the long journey by sea, he caught influenza. A compassionate woman (a "church lady" and a mother according to the retelling- which probably means a stranger or acquaintance) took him in and nursed him back to health. This brave and generous woman caught the infectious disease and died. My grandfather's life would continue to be shaped by the fact that someone died helping him. His life needed to be more because it had costs others so dearly. In his adulthood he built churches, schools, and orphanages in some of the world's poorest regions.

Recently I was telling this story to a friend, a nurse, and she said, "Don't you think medicine is better today?" Well, of course it is; however EPIDEMIC numbers of sick people can quickly overwhelm the medical infrastructure. Current projections for Indiana suggest future problems (note: that's 57% of hospital beds, not 57% of available hospital beds- most hospitals run above 43% capacity). Some people, such as those with existing health conditions and pregnant women, don't find much relief from modern medicine.

I believe that vaccination is better for individuals and the community than the alternative. I believe it enough that I stood in line for 4 hours with a 4 year-old Ranger and the 11 month-old Raptor so they could get H1N1 shots. Contrary to rumors, not all forms of the immunization have mercury and even Dr. Sears recommends them for children. Dr. Sears even states

"We are dealing with the same thing we face with flu shots every year: same chemical ingredients, new flu vaccine strains."

Our parents and grandparents underwent much greater risk in the fight against polio mid-twentieth century. Anyone bearing vaccination scars on their arms received a live shot of polio, but they made the disease a rarity.

Now is the time for courage.

***Baby Toolkit is not affiliated with the CDC nor any health organization or company. We are not medical professionals nor oracles. We are geek parents endowed with literacy and reason.

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