Editorial: The facts speak for themselves: get vaccinated

People need to take a serious look at the effects of measles: loss of hearing, death

Get vaccinated.

Recent outbreaks of measles just south of the border and in Vancouver have once again brought the issue of vaccinating to prevent serious illnesses to the fore.

There are some people who cannot get vaccinated. Those who are immuno-compromised is one group. Another is the small portion of the population who have adverse reactions or allergies to ingredients in vaccines.

These folks are why it’s not just a question of your personal choice whether or not to get you or your children vaccinated. They depend on herd immunity — that is, enough of the population being vaccinated that the risk of infection is very low. When herd immunity is compromised their health and lives are put in danger, through no choice of their own. Black Press had a story last week about a B.C. mom who was upset that her daughter, who could not be vaccinated because she’d had to undergo a heart transplant, may be put at risk by those who have decided not to vaccinate. That little girl, and those like her need to be considered when people think about not giving their children vaccines.

Many of those who choose not to vaccinate make that decision due to fears over ingredients in vaccines causing various health conditions in their children. Many of these fears, which have spread virally over social media, have been thoroughly discredited. People need to take a serious look at the very real consequences their children may experience if they get something like measles: impaired or loss of hearing, impaired or loss of sight, pneumonia. And then there’s the fact that according to the BC Centre for Disease Control one in every 3,000 people who contract measles will die. That’s a big roll of the dice.

Vaccines work. There were no reported cases of polio — which crippled and killed thousands, many of them children — in Canada from 2011 to 2015. We don’t even talk about the horrors of smallpox anymore. The number of mumps cases decreased by 99 per cent in the same time period, as did the number of measles cases. Rubella and diphtheria have virtually disappeared, with only one case on average each year between 2011 and 2015.

Why would we risk reversing that kind of progress? We should not. If you have concerns or questions, check out the Health Canada or BC Centre for Disease Control websites, or talk to your doctor. We believe you’ll be convinced when you take a real look at the facts.

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