Traverse City Record-Eagle

Our Views

August 14, 2013

Editorial: Resistance to vaccines difficult to understand

It’s hard to know why, but Michigan has long been a national leader in a medical category that puts kids at risk — the number of parents who refuse to get their children vaccinated.

It’s a puzzling problem that medical experts seem unable to crack —convincing parents that immunizing their children against diseases that we thought were long gone a couple generations ago.

There has long been a cottage industry of sorts of vaccine doubters, which has grown exponentially with the widespread advent of the Internet.

Believers can cite chapter and verse of statistics that show how dangerous vaccines are and how parents are putting their kids at risk by allowing them to be inoculated against diseases like whooping cough (pertussis), measles, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, chickenpox and meningitis.

Back in the 1800s and early 1900s, before vaccines for a host of childhood diseases were commonly available, parents would have given almost anything to protect their children from polio, diptheria and whooping cough.

But today, with effective and safe vaccines widely available StrokeStyle/$ID/Solid — and in fact required by law StrokeStyle/$ID/Solid — thousands of parents every year are refusing to get their children the shots that can protect them from those childhood diseases.

Some of the diseases on the list are relatively benign, except when a family is going through them, of course.

Baby boomers can likely recall when chicken pox or measles ran through their family or a family down the street; some may even have old photos of a couple kids with their faces pumped up by the mumps.

But every one of those diseases has its own risks such as a high fever or complications that can make them deadly, or at least a serious health risk. And who wants their child to suffer at all?

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